Why now is the time to modernize your communications capabilities

  • Posted on April 1, 2021

This article was originally written by Avanade alum Stephen Tong.

This past year kick-started massive changes in the way we work. The move to remote and hybrid working accelerated the need for new digital tools and highlighted the importance of employee experience. Mobile workplaces became essential, particularly on the front line. Now more than ever, organizations need modern, cloud-based communications tools.

Fortunately, we had the technology that allowed businesses to not only operate in this new environment, but to move forward. Microsoft Teams saw a 50% rise in daily users in just six months. Users could work anywhere, confident in the functionality and security offered. People quickly discovered the incredible voice quality you can achieve with cloud communications and a headset. In a world where we’re talking to people globally across multiple languages, with different accents and nuances, voice quality is really, really important. We were suddenly having crystal clear conversations, and it took our communications to the next level. This quality isn’t achievable with a desktop phone.

But the new world of work also presented challenges. In terms of on-premises solutions, businesses have been paying for and maintaining unused assets that offered no business value for the past year as the offices have remained closed or at reduced capacity.

And when it comes to employee experience, things continue to look pretty dire. A recent study shows that 40% of the global workforce is considering leaving their employer this year; 54% feel overworked; and 39% feel exhausted. While workers who are well established in their careers might be more resilient, at the other end of the spectrum Gen Z is seriously struggling. Technology is great, but it still has its limitations when you consider the human factor. The pressure is on to provide a great employee experience when offices reopen.

Desktop phones are dead
As we’ve adapted to new ways of working – remote, hybrid and mobile – we’ve discovered new ways to collaborate virtually. Will we ever pick up the phone and call as our default method of communication again?

Previously, one of the challenges of modernizing communications systems was the considerable expense of replacing legacy phones with Microsoft Teams. In addition, some employees would have fought tooth and nail to keep their desktop phone rather than use a headset. These same employees have spent the last year working from home, discovering the many benefits of using headsets while their legacy desktop phone has been gathering dust in an unused office. These employees are potential converts for modernized desktops when they return to the office.

We’re advising our clients that now is the time to modernize their communications and migrate to Teams Voice. We need to replace desktop phones and legacy platforms before offices reopen. Once employees get back into the office and wipe the literal and metaphorical dust from their legacy phones, you’re back to the same problem you had before. It’s time to start planning now if you want to get ahead and work as a truly agile, modern organization.

We’ve just seen a global client moving to only 300 physical handsets. That’s 300 handsets for communal areas in 60 offices worldwide – and we’re not even sure how much they will be used.

We’ve helped another client move to Teams Voice with a 90% headset model – a rollout to 20,000 users in just four weeks. This is something that wouldn’t have happened five years ago – or even one year ago.

If your organization has legacy handsets that aren’t fully depreciated, there’s a SIP Gateway solution to reuse this equipment. It will enable core Teams calling functionality on legacy phone models. It’s a great way to use the items to their full benefit and reduce capital costs of making the transition to Teams.

It’s time to modernize your workplace with Microsoft Teams
We’re no longer bound to traditional notions of space and time, so we must set aside previously held beliefs and make the leap to a modern workplace. To make remote or hybrid working possible, your organization needs modern, cloud-based communication and collaboration tools. Your employees need the ability to easily chat, arrange and conduct meetings, call both internal and external contacts, and collaborate on shared files.

Legacy tech is holding you back. The time has come. The time is now.

We’ve had our say, but we’d like to hear from you. Let’s keep the conversation going. Add a comment to this blog and let us know what topics are important to you (EX, meetings, hybrid workplace, etc.) and we’ll do our best to provide some food for thought.

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