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Communication at the heart of business productivity

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Modern organisations are composed of different age groups all with different ways of working, varying expectations, and diverse experiences. For instance, individuals from the millennial generation (born between 1980 and 1992) place a higher value on collaboration, quick feedback and sharing of information compared to baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964). By Chantal de Menezes, Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft South Africa.
In the connected era, the pace at which information and knowledge moves has quickened and employees can accomplish more by working together, because of a high level of connectivity (mobile, instant messaging, social networks, and email). It may be tempting for many businesses to rely more on millennials who have already embraced this new style of work, however, equally important is for collaborative cross-pollination to occur, so that a company’s experts from across all generations work together to generate a more diverse and fruitful range of ideas and opportunities.
This is especially true in light of the fact that there are far too many barriers to effective collaboration that already exists within modern business such as having a geographically disperse and increasing mobile workforce and companies that rely primarily on phone and email communication methods to work with external collaborators. The latter is a barrier because of the accelerating pace of business. Companies need a better way to share information, gather systematic feedback in real time, and collaborate with people outside the company.
While collaboration is core to the success and growth of any enterprise today, many organisations still struggle to collaborate effectively and efficiently. Bridging the general gap and tapping into the power of a diverse workforce requires technology that enables employees to connect across a dynamic network. By harnessing the power of consumer social networks, this approach enables corporate employees to connect with others, rapidly share information, and unearth new markets amongst other benefits. This network will help companies listen, adapt, and grow in new ways. It also allows organisations to better understand their customers, respond faster together, and deliver more innovative products and personalised customer experiences.

Zero to collaborative productivity in the blink of an eye
Microsoft South Africa aims to empower organisations to work like a network by delivering seamless social experiences across the familiar applications employees already use such as Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Yammer, SharePoint, and Skype for Business.
Through Skype for Business organisations can connect easily, anywhere and everywhere with your colleagues, clients and others, inside office or outside of it. Skype for Business helps companies to decrease overheads by allowing employees to connect with online HD conferencing across the regions and outside of the company. During the meeting, staff members can turn the digital whiteboard on, conduct polls, share note-taking and can also record it as well.
Skype for Business is an integral part of Office 365, which allows employees to see and access contacts from inside Outlook, any Office file or team share. This can be accomplished through a simple right click on the contact’s name through whom you want to connect and start an IM conversation with. Calendars can also be shared from inside Outlook allowing staff to find a convenient time for scheduling meetings with a single click and also add online meetings.
The IT staff at Aston Martin wanted to focus on strategic projects and work more proactively to improve processes and technologies. To free IT resources from routine administration tasks while still providing the latest communications and collaboration capabilities, the company utilised the cloud-based Office 365 software to provide employees with familiar Office applications, plus enterprise-grade email, conferencing, and collaboration solutions.
By providing easy access to business-critical productivity tools, enhanced security, and reliability through Office 365 and Skype for Business, Aston Martin was able to foster collaboration and improve business processes while reducing the burden of IT administration.
Case studies like this illustrate how communications is now at the heart of the business and is an essential tool to increasing productivity across the organisation.