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Meetings software, channel-based chat, cloud storage, planning tools, there is probably untapped potential in the software packages you already have. if not, many vendors are offering free access to their apps for up to 3-6 months during the pandemic.
You can get a free 6-month Microsoft Office 365 E1 license (which includes Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, Exchange & more. Elsewhere, Zoom has removed its 40-minute call limit in some countries, Citrix WebEx & Google Hangouts are giving away their meetings products for free, and a list of many more COVID 19 free offers is on Xlconsulting’s website here.
We see chat like WhatsApp, Telegram used more and more in the workplace, but they are problematic. Searchability is limited, data is shared outside the organisation & other issues. in 2009, Slack pioneered a channel-based chat application to fix this issue.
A few years later Microsoft, Google, and Facebook have all developed similar products, they believe that email will be superseded in a few years for internal purposes. If you find this hard to believe, look back 30 years ago when it was unfathomable that email could replace letters. Key features of Channel-based chat include:
Teams is being positioned as the centrepiece of Office 365, Calendaring, conference calls, threaded conversations, file management and chat throughout. Here are the components:
As well as Teams, Google Hangout meets, Zoom and Citrix WebEx Meetings are popular products. Personally, I find Zoom has the most advanced incall features, but Teams has the best ancillary features (pre/post call & the side chat). All products are free during COVID 19 (see intro paragraph for links).
Functionality among all
Whilst collaborative conference calling for 2-250 fits the needs of most, the abovementioned companies also have a Live event/Webinar product, this is for broadcasting pre-prepared content from one/few to up to 10,000 viewers, managing a Q&A whilst the participants can’t show their own video or share their screen. Teams provides this in their standard package, but the other products require a costly additional payment. Microsoft is also offering free help to set up Teams live events, that I took advantage of recently.
Office 365’s OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox & Box are all popular products in this field.
Planner is a Kanban board lightweight project management tool within Office 365 but I also have found this useful for recruitment or a simple sales pipeline as items don’t have to be “tasks” but could just be items. I find the best way to create a Plan is as a new tab in a channel in Microsoft Teams so it has a pre-determined list of people with access.
Trello by Atlassian offers a similar application that can be more visual with options to add images across many places as well as custom fields, and Team boards.
I think it is also worth highlighting, that there are many products specifically designed for the financial services and accountancy sectors that already include many file storage and remote working features. Many of your members are using these too. The likes of Docusoft, Iris, Visionblue , Sage etc to name but a few, all have capabilities that allow practitioners to continue working when out of the office or working from home. Many of these specialised software vendors are also here to help out during these difficult times!
Good question, most of the companies seem to comply with GDPR, you can google a specific vendor for example. What I'd say is its safer to use corporate-grade packages, e.g. Slack/Zoom/Microsoft's free tiers may have less encryption/more security threats than their paid alternatives.
Hi Chris & Stephen, yes I agree with you (as a consultant). Until Dec 2019 I didn't give Teams a second look, but since then "guests" have been able to do so much more. If you scroll to December new 13 you can see all they can do, its not everything but most things now. support.office.com/.../what-s-new-in-microsoft-teams-d7092a6d-c896-424c-b362-a472d5f105de
Completely agree. And even large companies are always working with smaller ones or consultants outside their domain
I find it frustrating that Teams is so focused on working WITHIN a company. That seems so last century to me. As someone who works for a variety of companies I want to be able to be part of various Teams - not just one company. Microsoft seems very focused on working within one company which I find surprising!