Colin Thornton, Chief Commercial Officer at Turrito Networks snaps the chains that bind the business to legacy telephony limits
The cables that bound organisations to office and people to chairs have been severed by the events of the past two years. The cables that once were the only way for people to connect and collaborate have been replaced by digital connectivity and innovation that’s reshaping the workplace, and the workspace. The sudden and stark move to work from home redefined the foundations of the workplace, and the work from anywhere ethos has fundamentally changed how companies are approaching work in the future. Whether it’s back to the office, work from home, hybrid or any combination of the three – collaboration is no longer defined by boardrooms, whiteboards and conference calls.
What it is defined by is the rapid evolution of solutions that have tapped into the digital demands of the modern business. For most organisations, the physical operational world of business is being replaced by digital spaces where people can interact, collaborate and connect from anywhere in the world. While the pandemic played no small role in starting this particular digital engine, there are three other key factors really shifting it into gear: changing employee needs; the need for balance between the digital and physical working environments; and the technology itself.
This has also had multiple knock-on impacts, one of which being the sudden glut of empty office spaces and parks as companies downsize their space requirements to accommodate hybrid and evolved working models. They are saying goodbye to the high cost of office parks and hello to smaller spaces that are curated for very specific employee and customer engagements. This, in turn, has seen companies move away from the complexities of legacy collaboration infrastructure – the cables, the PBX systems and server rooms – to solutions that are more customisable and capable. And significantly more cost-effective.
Digital voice and collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams have taken such huge strides forward that the amount of hardware required to manage and optimise these systems has shrunk exponentially. There will always be the need for some form of hardware, but the size and scale of this investment has dropped to fit into the palm of the user’s hand. In the past, companies were also expected to sign five-year contracts for their creaking PABX infrastructure, and VoIP wasn’t much better and needed special connectivity and configurations. Now, companies can choose a product like Teams for telephony and collaboration, on a month-to-month basis, and scale up or down as their requirements demand.
This level of flexibility is just one of the biggest reasons why solutions such as Teams Voice have changed the game completely. It drastically reduces costs while improving business processes and systematically removes the shackles that have traditionally chained the business to its desks. It also offers impressive ubiquity – users aren’t chained to their desks anymore; they can make calls from Teams to mobile devices and landlines. The system even lets teams run conference calls across disparate systems and devices, a much-needed flexibility when managing remote working employees. It’s a layer of collaborative capability that’s essential to the modern business and provides seamless access to conferencing, networking and communication across multiple devices, locations, remote working set-ups and more – and all at a price point that’s miles away from the weighty expense that comes with literally all other telephony systems.
Many companies are still not sure whether or not they are going to stay remote, move back into the office or cobble together a hybrid blend of the two. There are complexities introduced with remote and hybrid working that companies have not had to deal with before, and that require careful planning to ensure that they don’t burn out or fail before they’ve had a chance to really thrive. One of them is the ability to connect teams and individuals. There is little doubt that people thrive when they work together and that fully remote working has introduced challenges around burnout and isolation that have impacted on productivity and business culture. Using a platform such as Teams won’t completely eliminate the digital disconnect, but it does provide people with immediate and consistent collaborative access to one another, and the business.
This has been proven to work over and over again in the last two years. In many offices where people have opted to go back into thew office, they still use Teams to connect with people who are sitting only a few desks away because these platforms have all the delectable digital tools built in. They can whiteboard, onboard, connect, and collaborate within an increasingly flexible and agile ecosystem that’s designed to adapt to their needs and is often easier to get work done in. It’s an invaluable toolkit that supports the business no matter which working framework it adopts, or where it’s people are located. And it’s one that effectively cuts away the limitations that traditionally held voice tightly within the office walls… tightly bound by old hardware and messy cables.