We caught up with Rob Westwood, UK Director of Product & Solution Design for New Era’s International Video Collaboration Division, to get his insight into the world of Managed Services for the digital workplace.
With a core focus on Microsoft Teams, this interview focuses on how organisations can ensure the successful implementation of Microsoft Teams to support their hybrid working.
What is the biggest challenge organisations are facing as they start to implement their digital workplace strategies?
There are a number of challenges to consider when enabling a workforce to effectively work in a hybrid environment but I would call out addressing the user experience, as a key area to address as a priority. Employees have been empowered to work remotely through adoption of collaboration tools and they have an expectation that those same tools will continue to deliver the same level of collaboration within the office environment.
What should organisations do to ensure all employees can thrive in a digital world?
Organisations need to consider how those tools are integrated into their office collaboration experience to ensure that remote workers are not disadvantaged when collaborating with office based employees. This could take the shape of hybrid workers not being afforded the opportunity to join office based meetings or if they do join, being limited to a small window within the meeting experience. Ensuring that the user experience is optimised for all attendees and that parity is delivered, should lead to a successful collaboration environment where remote, hybrid and office based employees can all thrive.
What is the single most important thing organisations are looking for in the management of MS Teams Rooms?
We have heard loud and clear from our customer and partner communities that being able to deliver a consistent support service is critical for the successful enablement of a Microsoft Teams Room program with an excellent user experience. Organisations are deploying solutions that deliver a consistent user experience, whether employees join from the office or home, which provides familiarity to the user community and increases adoption. As adoption increases, the supporting infrastructure needs to increase inline, to ensure that when issues do occur, real-time support is available to the user community, to help get them back to collaborating as soon as possible. The support function must be able to support general ‘how to’ enquiries but also be able to remotely triage and manage Microsoft Teams Rooms to troubleshoot and address technical issues in a timely manner.
What key feature/benefit of our enhanced Managed Service are you most excited about?
I’m really excited to introduce an enhanced level of pro-active monitoring for Microsoft Teams Rooms. Our platform monitors both the technology deployed in the room and the Microsoft cloud, so we get true end-to-end visibility of the collaboration environment. This allows us to deliver an exceptional user experience, through our ability to pro-actively identify and resolve issues before they impact users. For example, when a camera becomes disconnected making the Microsoft Teams Room unusable, our platform would trigger an alert and pro-actively generate a ticket that we can then action against to resolve the issue, all without a user needing to contact the support team.
How has the importance of a Managed Service for AV/Collaboration changed or increased in the last 12 months?
The volume of users that now enjoy collaboration technology has increased exponentially through the pandemic. Office based collaboration tools such as video collaboration rooms used to be reserved for C-Level execs and adoption was typically less than 10% within an organisation. We now see adoption of collaboration tools north of 80% with an organisation, so it truly has become a mission critical tool that is used by the masses to work effectively. As the volume of users leveraging the technology increases, the importance of supporting that environment and ensuring it is delivering the optimal benefits increases too. More than ever, having a managed service that can support users, remotely triage problems and deploy on-site engineers and spares through a single SLA backed support infrastructure is critical to the success, adoption and ROI for collaboration programs.