Enterprise Connect 2019 is in full swing this week, with Microsoft providing a keynote speech. Their big focus was on Microsoft Teams, and the tech giant has big plans for how it can improve efficiency and office engagement. The company has found, that despite digital transformation changing work culture, only 15% of employees worldwide feel engaged. At the top companies in the world, 70% of their employees feel engaged, which correlates to a 20% higher profitability.
There are several reasons why employees don’t feel engaged, including distance, language barriers, as well as organizational complexity. Technology tools can bridge these gaps, and Teams is just one of these tools. Many businesses are already reaping the benefits of Teams. Over 500,000 organizations worldwide have already deployed Teams, including 91 of the Fortune 100. The latter number is not a coincidence.
New Microsoft Teams Features
Currently, Teams has workflows for approving purchase orders, booking transportation, and even ordering meals. The Teams Calendar now provides a full view of a particular day, much like Outlook. You can quickly chat with participants before a meeting with a simple right-click and set call forwarding rules. Private channels are coming to Teams later this year.
Firstline Workers Features
Microsoft has rolled out numerous helpful features for the workers on the front lines, who are the ones meeting and engaging with customers, seeing products in action, and representing the company’s brand.
Firstline workers are able to
- View shift schedules via mobile;
- Clock in and clock out with geofence verification;
- Share their location to let a team know they’re on the way; and
- Share audio recordings with the team.
The smart camera integration even optimizes images. Say goodbye to trying to interpret crumpled receipts.
IT admins are able to define their own configuration policies for firstline workers as well, including restricting chat and calling.
Just last month, Microsoft added the ability to blur backgrounds to eliminate any distractions with video conferences. They are currently working on adding a change background ability. Users will be able to make it seem that they are taking the call on a beach, on the slopes, or really anywhere. The current plan is to roll it out by the end of this year, and it will allow for any image to be used.
The best new features for Teams video meetings are real-time captions and real-time translations. The live captions will allow those who are deaf or hard of hearing to still participate in the meeting without missing a beat. It will also be extremely useful for anyone in a loud location, such as out in the field. An English preview will be coming soon, and real-time translations will come at a later date.
Probably one of the most exciting soon-to-come features is the whiteboard function during meetings. With this feature, remote participants can mask out the person writing on the whiteboard, so they can see the entire whiteboard during the meeting. All it takes is a regular webcam.
This feature will also capture an image of the physical whiteboard and import it digitally into Teams. The whiteboard can then be archived for future use.
Microsoft will put the whiteboard feature through to public preview testers first, before they add it in a future update.
Microsoft has plenty of exciting new features coming to Teams in the near future which will continually help them to edge out any current competition. If you’re still utilizing Skype for Business, Microsoft has simplified the process to upgrade Skype to Teams. If you have any questions about these upcoming features or how Teams can revolutionize your organization, contact us at any time.