Will WhatsApp Business threaten the supremacy of Microsoft Teams?

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What is WhatsApp? Probably this question is just asked by grandmas and grandpas today. Who doesn’t know what WhatsApp is? Who doesn’t use it?  In my personal experience, everyone knows and use it, even my grandparents. Indeed, WhatsApp has more than 1billion users all over the world. WhatsApp is available both in your phone, but also as a desktop app in your laptop. And it’s free. With WhatsApp you can do many things: chatting with your friends, create groups, do calls and even video calls, send pictures, videos, voice messages and even documents…and many more…

Have you ever thought about using WhatsApp as a tool for your business?

If you find it an easy, user friendly tool to use to communicate with your friends, relatives, colleagues, acquaintances, clients…then what about using it also to work and collaborate?

Some time ago, WhatsApp marked the news:

“Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from. That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight. We all get these messages elsewhere today – through text messages and phone calls – so we want to test new tools to make this easier to do on WhatsApp, while still giving you an experience without third-party ads and spam. “

From that moment on, businesses have been flooding WhatsApp with emailed enquiries over how they could access the network.  But businesses want more than just WhatsApp as it is now. They want analytics, infrastructure for sending messages to large numbers of customers at once, automated messages or “bots”, new functionalities to share ideas, files and to collaborate, and more security.

Finally, in January 2018 WhatsApp announced the release of the new app WhatsApp Business. It is a free Android app created for businesses so that they can interact and communicate internally or externally with customers, easily by using a tool that they already know.

WhatsApp Business

WhatsApp Business will even improve the business experience

The new functionalities are:

  • Business Profiles: companies and organizations can have and create their business profile, facilitating the communication with customers, giving immediate useful information such as a business description, email or physical address and link to the website.
  • Messaging Tools: Quick replies for fast answers to the FAQ, greeting messages for customers and away messages to inform them you are busy.
  • Messaging Statistics: Just like other social media, you can review simple metrics like the number of messages read, to monitor your work.
  • WhatsApp Web: use the app WhatsApp Business also in your desktop.
  • Account Type: your business account, linked to the phone number of your organization, so that customers are sure they are chatting with the right profile.
  • Spam: you as user and as customer or private user will be able of course to block or report as spam also businesses profiles.

The new WhatsApp Business app seems to have produced already very positive results. Indeed, over 80% of small businesses in India and Brazil consider WhatsApp a valuable tool to help them communicate with customers and grow their business.  As a consequence, the app is spreading all over the world: it is now available in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, U.K. and U.S.

If WhatsApp Business will continue riding at this pace, evolving and becoming even more useful for bigger businesses and companies, how will the future scenario look like?

Will WhatsApp Business become one of the main competitors of Microsoft Teams, the currently most used communication hub and collaboration app by big businesses and ventures?

Thinking about Fileshares with the Silverside Collaboration Framework

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We have a flashy new tool, but we do not change the way we work. So old wine in new bags. And then you do not get anything out of it! How many times have you experienced this?  

This article is one of a series:
1. What does not work with fileshares and e-mail?
2. Smarter collaboration on files with Office 365
3. Thinking about Fileshares with the Silverside Collaboration Framework
4. You can also share e-mails 

How often do you still see the outdated way of organizing files and version control continued in Office 365. 

The fileshares are migrated one by one to the personal OneDrive of employees. In this way you end up with all the quality documents in the OneDrive of the Q&A Manager, all policies with the OneDrive of the IT employee who created them, and the HR files in the OneDrive of someone from HR.
The OneDrive becomes a large swamp, in which nobody can find anything anymore. And what happens when a person leaves the company? Ownership of these files is also lost.
It is better to look at the files on the fileshares in a different way. Start with the thought: what kind of work is it, and what purpose does it serve. 

Collaboration Framework approach

We work from our Collaboration Framework. Here we do not look at the technology, but at the business and human factors that are necessary to make collaboration successful. Whatever organization you have, and whatever work you do, you can always work together as a group in four areas: All four areas are a community, a society, a group. But each has a different character. 

Silverside Collaboration Framework

Silverside Collaboration Framework

Community of Practice (COP)

A Community of Practice is a group of people who share a specific field or expertise. The emphasis here is on progress. In a COP, documents are shared, are continually improved upon. The subjects have something in common with the core business of the organization. Here the money is earned, and they are supported by the whole organization. That is why this is generally also a top-down approach. There are clear rules. A COP is predominantly a group that applies for a long term, precisely because it has been supported by the organization and the business itself is making better. A document is the result of the work here. 

Project

Typical for a project is that a clear result follows. Something is being delivered. And that is done within a fixed short term. Often several disciplines within the organization are involved in a project. Sometimes even external people. Speed ​​and flexibility is usually very important. That is why there is a need for a lot of ease of use and few rules. In addition to documents, there is a lot of emphasis on tasks, progress and deadlines. When you want to make processes or business better, project documents can ultimately form the basis for adjustments in the COP. 

Team

With a team there is a clear organization. Usually inspired by the organization chart of the company. Think of divisions, departments, countries, and locations. With a team, it is clear who is a member. You can often distinguish between a public part (of the team, for the organization) and a closed part (with the team, for the team). The work that a team does, is about daily business. We are not working towards one specific goal, but doing the work is central. Documents are often supportive to processes. Communication and planning are a big part of working together. 

Community of Interest (COI)

In a COI people who have a shared interest come together. This can be something that has nothing to do with the business itself, such as a self-supporting iPhone community. But it can also be an area that has common ground with the organization. The key word, however, is that people in the group have the same passion. The difference with a COP is that these interests are not borne by the organization, but have developed completely bottom-up. There are no or few rules. Usually a COI has a short-term character. The interest can quickly become obsolete (think of the iPhone, maybe this was rather black?). These are often new, innovative topics. Eventually it disappears automatically, or changes into a Project or COP. A document is often the starting point of a discussion here. 

4 elements of cooperation

So far we have always talked about working together on documents. But collaboration consists of more than just sharing files. When working together we talk about 4 elements: communication, appointments, actions, and results. All these elements come together within each type of community in the model. Office 365 offers one central place for each of the 4 types where the calls, the agreements (rules and agreements in the agenda!), the documents and the tasks can be found. 

The recurring question ‘When do I use what?’ 

Office 365 workshop

With Office 365 you as organization have a wide range of apps at your disposal. Group files can be stored in SharePoint sites, in an Outlook Group, in a Team or in a Plan. These apps have some overlap, but each also has its specific features and benefits.
When you look at these various apps from a technological point of view, you can simply list the functionality. Of course it is possible that employees are really looking specifically for a certain functionality, and therefore would make a choice for one or the other.
The reality, however, is that employees have choice stress. Do I have to use SharePoint sites, Outlook Groups, Teams or Planner? The Collaboration Framework helps with the choices!
Looking at a typical file share you can easily recognize how you can think about them in communities. You usually see the folders for departments and projects on fileshares back. What you do not often find here is the COP and the COI. They often exist more in e-mail or simply do not have a clear place.
Within Office 365 you can think of the apps that are most suitable for each of the four elements.

Issues that have a long-term focus, require rules (governance) or structure and that are important for the entire organization (top-down) can best be arranged with SharePoint sites. Task-oriented work is central to Planner. The latest addition to Office 365 – Teams – is ideal for low-threshold collaboration with a focus on communication. For completely free sharing with each other and a lot of interaction, without any control and rules (bottom-up).  Read more on the article  When to Use What.

 

 

Microsoft Teams and Smarter Meetings

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Recently, Microsoft announced further progress on its intelligent communications vision for Microsoft Teams, adding support for its own and third-party calling and meeting room devices. Microsoft’s Surface Hub device will run Microsoft Teams natively from later in 2018, and audio and video conferencing room systems from multiple partners will be able to plug into Microsoft Teams, enabling Teams to be used as a solution for meeting rooms. With the momentum behind Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft’s intent to retire Skype for Business Online in favour of Teams, this allows third-party vendors to carry forward their “Skype Room Systems” into Microsoft Teams. It does, indeed, seem intelligent to leverage the existing ecosystem of vendors and devices to propel Teams to even greater heights.

Of course, “intelligent” is an easy word for vendors to throw around (along with phrases like “machine learning,” “big data,” and “deep learning”), but the real test is intelligent utilisation.

One technical capability to support intelligent utilisation is having video cameras that sense where the participants are in the room. This is offered by Logitech and Crestron to support two end goals:
Dynamically adjust where the camera focuses to give the remote party the best viewing experience (e.g., removing a hindrance to intelligent utilisation).
Automatically capture and log the number of people in each meeting room throughout the course of each day, and to make this data available for understanding room utilisation rates. Decision makers can see the reality of how the meeting room infrastructure is being used, and make plans accordingly.

Microsoft Teams silverside

We hold one major concern for intelligent utilisation, however, and it’s a concern that further technological development and Microsoft’s own roadmap for Teams will never be able to resolve. It’s the very human issue of how to run a productive and effective meeting in this new world of work. How do you bring together a diverse group of people, in one room or multiples, to combine their human experience, insight, intelligence and wisdom to explore an idea, make a decision, and further the reach and impact of a team, department or organization? It’s an issue that endures in the face of technological advancements that are incredibly amazing, and forces us to face up to the fundamental questions once again:

  • What is the purpose of this meeting?
  • Who should be here?
  • What agenda topics best enable us to address the purpose?
  • How do we enable a tool like Microsoft Teams and its intelligent capabilities to add to the productivity of a team, not detract from it?

Teams

Beyond questions, we have answers. For those, please check out our brand new principles whitepaper on holding smarter meetings, and our companion workbook on using Microsoft Teams in Office 365 to do so. The first offers a deep dive into the state of meetings today and how they need to improve, and the second gives clear guidance on how meetings can be brought to life in Microsoft Teams aligned with our principles whitepaper.

Intelligent capabilities must be met with intelligent utilisation, otherwise it is just dumb.

4 Steps to Change your Company Culture

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 Change a company culture is the most difficult decision for managers and leaders. Indeed, as Tom Peters affirmed:

“It is easier to kill an organization than it is to change it.”

However, nothing is impossible in the business world. For this reason, here there are some tips and tricks that everybody can use as a guideline, in the process of changing company culture and management. Four steps are almost mandatory:

Assess your Company CultureAssess company culture

The best way to start the change, is to understand where your company culture exactly is. This means understanding which specific characteristics shape it, the mission, the values and the vision. In this challenge, online surveys can help to highlight qualities, pitfalls, challenges and allergies. They also offer specific advice for running an implementation project within the organization and tips for the required change management. Don’t you know how to do it? The Company Culture Assessment will definitely help you.

 

Start with Why

start with why

Simon Sinek champions the philosophy of “Starting with Why”. This is a simple yet profound message that motivates leaders and employees to change. There is a strong need to communicate to all employees the reasons for a project and what the consequences of this migration will be for them. And motivation means people want to change, rather than must change. This will drastically reduce employees’ retention towards the change.

Productivity scenarios: Find the right tools

productivity scenarios

Productivity scenarios provide a structured way of exploring the effects of a new company culture. Scenarios paint a picture of a possible near-term future where new tools, combined with better practices, can create more efficient ways of working. Finding the right tools for the change, having as a base the features of the company culture and the behavior of its employees, is one of the most decisive task in the process.

Tiny Habit

Change HabitsA “Tiny Habit” is a simple behaviour or action you do at least once a day, that takes you less than 30 seconds and that requires little effort. Every time you success in doing or embracing the new habit, you must celebrate. The stronger you feel a positive emotion after your Tiny Habit, the faster it will become automatic. Yet, with little actions repeated regularly, we can easily transform our attitude at work. If you are thinking to change a company culture and employees’ behaviour in only one day, we can ensure you this is not going to happen. The process requires time and efforts, but at the end, the result will be successful.  

 

Altogether, these four steps make leaders understand that the change is never immediate, nor simple. Remember, what you need is: awareness, team collaboration, motivation and hard work, it is possible to change the company culture, without neglecting the core values at the base.

 

ENGAGE 2018. DREAM EXPLORE DISCOVER

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Join us at Engage 2018!

We come together to celebrate digital power, learn from inspirational industry leaders. Our mission for tomorrow is to built an inovative future based on collaboration and technology.

When? May 22-23, 2018

Where? ss Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

We have two sessions on Tuesday, May 22

Community driven approach for content creation and customer support. During this session Roland Driesen will talk about PACE methodology that increases User Adoption of Microsoft and IBM platforms. During this event Silverside will launch the modules Collaborative Knowledge Base (CKB) and Ask The Pacer (ATP). In this session Roland will share the ideas and concept behind the PACE Online platform, a live demonstration of the new modules, the new business model for professionals and a technical peek under the hood.

Fit for summer! Use your IBM Collaboration tools smarter to make your work less stressful. This session will be interested for you if you raise questions such as: why do I feel like I need more time in a week? Why my work plan does not fit my schedule? How to deal with all those emails? Two Silverside experts Sasja Beerendonk and Roland Driesen will present IBM tools to help you stay on track, find what you need, and get things really done pro-actively.

Check the Engage 2018 timetable.

It’s FREE to attend!

Silverside is proud to sponsor this great European event.

ss rotterdamss Rotterdam, the former flagship of the Holland America Line

SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference comes to Copenhagen, Denmark!

 

ESPC is Europe’s leading online community, providing educational resources and encouraging collaboration.

Each year ESPC gathers SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure experts from around the world in one European location for the largest conference of its kind.

The mission of the event is to empower you and the community to professional success, so :

  • Learn with us
  • Get some inspiration
  • Make new connections
  • Broaden your network

When? 26-29 November 2018
Where? Copenhagen, Denmark

 

Silverside is proud to be a sponsor of this great conference. Join us at our booth during the event to see how our PACE methodology can change collaboration in your organization.

 Mark 26-29 November on your agenda and plan a trip to Copenhagen.