As UAE Visa Landscape Evolves, Think Updated Teams for Smarter, Mobile Collaboration

Ross MacKenzie
Tags: Microsoft Teams

New visa and free zone offerings throughout the UAE are addressing today’s pressing business needs – more flexibility for start-ups, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, short-term consultants and multi-office conglomerates. These initiatives, combined with the development of smart cities, with the public-sector harnessing technology to deliver ever greater service excellence, are boosting the UAE’s mobile workforce – people who want and need to work from anywhere at any time while constantly keeping in touch with clients, colleagues or suppliers.

Workforce mobility is increasingly shown to deliver greater productivity, a fundamental for the country’s drive for keener global competitiveness. But, are you tech-and-cloud-ready to make the most of the new work-on-the-go environment?

Mobile workers want to join in meetings and brainstorm projects and ideas as easily as if they were in the office and they want to do it using the same technologies that they use in their personal lives.

It’s estimated that the time managers and employees spend collaborating has gone up by at least a half over the past two decades, and up to 80% of staff time is now spent collaborating either through meetings, meeting calls and responding to emails. Smart communications and collaboration, therefore, are key to any successful business.

Research shows that 73% of employees of organisations that leverage the latest technology solutions report a positive impact on productivity, and 70% cite improved collaboration. In addition, they were found to be more motivated, have greater job satisfaction, and are more likely to be positive about their work-life balance – all factors in Dubai’s drive to become one of the world’s happiest places to live, work and play.

Employers also understand they must simplify their communications and collaboration with 80% recognising that by enabling employees to work from anywhere, they can recruit and retain top talent.

Microsoft Teams is driving this new collaborative approach. As Microsoft 365’s teamwork hub, Teams empowers employees to complete tasks more efficiently, join in meetings and better manage their everyday workloads – while reducing organisational costs. That’s a persuasive combination. What’s more Forrester estimates that with instant access to everything in one place,  365 users can each save about 30 minutes per day – which adds up to 130 hours of productivity per person or 22.5 days a year – a full working month! And that’s a convincing sum.

Teams Talk

An integral part of Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity suite 365, Teams combines people, conversations and content in one place, so employees can easily collaborate with one another from wherever they are. Teams brings together chat, meetings, files, and both Office and third-party productivity apps; and with the recent integration of Microsoft’s instant messaging and video platform Skype for Business, users can also benefit from enterprise-grade voice and video. So, businesses can finally move away from expensive telephone hardware and centralise their phone system management. And with Microsoft continuing to push the boundaries of possibilities, it plans to integrate several additional features by the year of the year. These include:  inline message translation; cloud recording transcription; background blur and mobile sharing.

Hub Help

Employees find that having a central teamwork hub is more efficient than piecing together a collection of business and personal applications when tackling a task. For instance, one of the biggest time-wasters is in search – looking for content, tools, contacts, conversation threads, etc. Research suggests that, globally, employees spend 29% of an average work day searching for corporate information. With Teams, users can find what they’re looking for quickly, using powerful search capabilities and built-in access to applications such as SharePoint, OneNote and Planner.

Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Power BI and Delve are built into Teams, and so users have all their familiar applications, and the information they need, at their fingertips.

In addition: Microsoft Graph connects all the data that drives productivity – mail, calendar, contacts, documents, directory, devices, for example users can start voice and video meetings, with persistent and threaded chat keeping everyone engaged and informed.

And, every document shared in Teams is saved to the cloud, so each team member’s work is based on the latest version.

Teams Advantages

Breadth of Range:

There are other basic collaboration apps on the market, but none have Teams’ full range of productivity-boosting features, its enterprise scale capabilities, or its full integration with a host of familiar Microsoft and third-party tools and applications. Many of these apps are primarily designed for chat-only conversations.

Delivering Real Value:

While many collaboration apps may at first seem good value – and even offered at no charge on a basic level – they are limited in their messaging archive capability, apps, and storage size, among a range of feature restrictions. This means when organisations want to scale up requirements, they must upgrade to more expensive versions.

The Value Add:

As part of Office 365, Teams users can access the full range of apps for video, chat, and calls, and can create documents of almost any type – all in one place.

Teams: the future of business meetings

Teams delivers a host of productivity features for calls and meetings. Prior to a Meeting, Teams will surface relevant documents and rich information about the participants to help with preparation. Once the meeting is underway the conversation can be captured, transcribed, and time-coded, with closed captioning and voice recognition for attributing remarks. And Teams also comes into its own after the meeting because the cloud recording and transcript can be automatically added to the relevant channel, so conversations, documents, notes, and action items can be reviewed, indexed, and searched by the entire team.

Totally Teams

Microsoft Teams has unique benefits to help every department and every team enhance their productivity. Marketing can create, collaborate and show results while working with a diverse group of people internally and externally in a shared workspace for all conversations, files, and third-party services. Sales can quickly build proposals with input from different stakeholders, while making it easier to manage longer term projects and programmes, such as planning, training and sales readiness. Finance can aggregate and report on data while conducting regular business reviews within a hub in which all files, data, conversations and meetings can happen safely and securely. HR can manage recruitment and employee onboarding, including sharing CVs and interview notes, keeping track of candidate information, communicating hiring decisions, and sharing new employee documents. Engineering can move quickly between conceptualisation, development and deployment when delivering new features, or integrate with developer tools.

Teams Transfer

Organisations should start planning their transition to Teams now to start benefitting from the productivity and organisational gains that come with modern collaboration.

As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Teams sits within Cobweb’s comprehensive portfolio of collaboration solutions, and we can get you up and running quickly and seamlessly to help your employees collaborate more effectively, enabling improved productivity and a higher return on your 365 investment.

In addition, for customers that haven’t yet moved to the cloud, Microsoft’s Skype for Business Server 2019 will be going into preview with new features and improvements. General availability is expected by the end of the year.

Moving to Teams

There is a real and immediate opportunity for small and midsized businesses to benefit from smarter, more proactive collaboration and cost-effective collaboration in the workplace with Teams.

Cobweb can help you make the transition, offering you transparency, empowerment, enablement and support.

“We have a customer success team that is focused on what the customer needs to achieve with their business, supporting them on their journey, and developing a whole series of professional services to help customers on that transition,” says Altaf Alimohamed, MD, Cobweb Solutions UAE.

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