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Where's the coffee and muffin?

Save time, reduce cost, and ensure business continuity with remote working

What changes in the way we collaborate are we likely to see, as a result of current events? Sure, video conferencing has been widely available and was adopted to various degrees by organisations. However, there’s no doubt that how we communicate has changed. The required cultural shift that has long been expected (promised) has finally arrived, and the general consensus is that it’s here to stay.

The benefits include reduced costs and time due to less travel and a move away from needing building real estate for meeting rooms. To fully take advantage of this, ensuring the user has all of the necessary equipment is key. Secondly, infrastructure should be reviewed – changes in network traffic flows, the application used as part of the wider system and business continuity. The change also presents an opportunity to take advantage of the powerful toolsets now available for collaboration workspaces which offer significant improvements in productivity.

The immediate benefits of the shift to this new operational mode, has seen little impact in business as usual (when it comes to productive meetings!). Beyond this, the longer term benefits are substantive. Firstly, the ability to meet  without the time, effort and cost of travel. This benefit has long been promised, but I’ve seldom heard of it delivering the return on investment indicated in the supporting business case. Second is, the freeing of building real estate i.e. meeting rooms. Aside from the increased social connection of coming together in a meeting room, an online meeting can be arguably more productive from your desk than a short walk to a meeting space. There’s always one more thing to fit in prior to a meeting, running into someone in the corridor for a “quick question” or grabbing that last minute coffee to find that the beans have run out!

Avoiding headaches with your remote working tools, systems, and networks

Key to supporting the shift, is to ensure that careful consideration is given to the solution chosen.  Weighing up the feature set, interoperability, ease of use, cost and most importantly security is key. The former considerations make for a better user experience, and hence adoption. Having the supporting infrastructure from a user perspective (computer, web cam, speakers, sufficient connectivity and of course workspace set up) ensures the user is productive and not prone to technical problems that can plague meetings. The same applies for the person working remotely, whether at home, out of another office or on the road.

“Implications (opportunities) exist in terms of network traffic flows, the continued shift to cloud-based solutions (whether in-house or an on-shore provider), business continuity considerations, and the demand for traditional fixed line services. In each case the services in these areas can be reviewed or trimmed, allowing resources to be put into areas being used more.”

At Edge, we’ve settled on and used Microsoft Teams extensively for some time. It’s core to how we function. It offers us the ability to meet productively without the time and cost that goes with travelling, allowing us to pass on those savings and productivity increases to our customers. 

However, beyond just the video conferencing aspect, we’ve harnessed the  benefit of tight integration with the Microsoft suite and our SaaS project management tool. This provides one place for all project information with manageability of data ownership, that is also easy to access and use. This extends to securely publishing key project management information so that our customers can see first-hand project schedules and other key project information. 

The features of these platforms are only going to increase as the competition heats up. The time to take into account the longer-term impact of this technology is now.

– Graham Black