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Microsoft and the new collaboration world

What are the most pressing issues and opportunities facing collaboration in our modern world? Teamwork has evolved from in-office discussions to remote meetings spanning both time zones and work cultures. The landscape has changed, and businesses have had to overhaul how they approach communication in the workplace.

As a result, companies are increasingly investing in tools that will help maintain team
cohesion and productivity—no matter where their employees are. Evaluating the many tools
available can be overwhelming, leading to more questions than answers about the future of

OnX has collected expert advice from industry veterans to help you decide which collaboration tools best suit your business needs.

The new collaboration world

Before the pandemic, companies rarely considered the functionality of their collaboration tools. In-office communication solutions didn’t need robust file sharing, meetings that could handle thousands of people, and other features we now take for granted. However, following the pandemic, it isn’t uncommon for almost 100% of meetings to take place in a virtual environment.

We’ve seen an accelerated deployment and adoption of channel-based communication in shared workspaces for employees. There’s a new, standardized acceptance of these next-generation technologies, meaning not only employees but also their clients can collaborate virtually.

Today, the equally important “C” in Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is collaboration. It’s becoming more commonplace for enterprises to invest in new telephony platforms based on a cloud office suite—largely due to the growing need for integration.

Also read: Microsoft Teams: Supporting your business

So, why are we talking about Microsoft?

Microsoft Teams was once considered an inferior product to its competitors, such as Slack and Webex. However, Teams saw exponential growth with the move to remote working. The cloud-based collaboration software grew from 20 million users in 2019 to 270 million in 2022, making it the most popular business communication platform.

The question becomes whether Teams is the right fit for your business. Alternative collaboration tools like Cisco Webex have made a name for themselves by constantly innovating while providing a feature-rich experience with spaces, direct messaging, creating teams, and more. Slack is a household name for many companies, driving creativity and company culture with its ability to share GIFs, emojis, and more.

With the growth of Microsoft Teams, experts from companies like OnX ensure it matches the features of these alternative collaboration tools. Microsoft Teams is primarily geared towards larger companies with user numbers in the thousand to ten thousand range. The company has long been a major player in the space, with many large companies already using Microsoft tools like Office 365. On top of that, Microsoft has cleverly included Microsoft Teams as a value add in enterprise agreements—giving IT administrators a more robust experience of the platform’s functionality.

Also read: The benefits of Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365 and which is right for you

Integration is the game-changer

In reality, the messaging tool that companies use is a free usage tool, regardless of whether they use Cisco Webex, Slack, or Microsoft Teams. The core messaging function is not the true value for companies.

Instead, it’s about integration: which collaboration tool has the right features for your business and can integrate seamlessly into your working environment? While Microsoft Teams might seem like an excellent fit for a company that already relies on Microsoft tools for their work, Cisco Webex also integrates into the Office 365 experience. It allows businesses to share cloud versions of files in formats like Word and Excel natively within Webex, meaning companies could invest in an industry-leading calling tool like Cisco Webex and still maintain their productivity.

Cost is also a factor. For instance, with Microsoft, companies may believe receiving Microsoft Teams for free is a huge benefit. However, they will pay separately for Business Voice, an audio conferencing license, a dial plan, and more. The pricing options for these different tools are complex, and companies can only make an informed decision with a thorough understanding of the features they offer.

OnX can simplify and optimize your collaboration tools

Ultimately, multiple collaboration tools will have space to thrive, and they will carve out their own specialties. Cloud-based communications are still a relatively new space that has experienced a massive boom in recent years, and the growth of Microsoft Teams will lead to further innovation within that tool. There will be advantages to staying within the Microsoft ecosystem, just as there are advantages to using tools like Slack and Cisco Webex.

Companies need a thorough understanding of the technology that powers UCaaS and how collaboration tools will interact with their existing workflows. The best way for users to navigate the options available is to connect with an IT solutions partner like OnX. Learn more about the OnX approach to IT solutions design, implementation, and management here.

Get in touch with an OnX expert today to start your digital collaboration journey.