Effective communications is one of the hallmarks of a good business and, in the past, the best of breed solutions were only available to enterprises.
This left small business wanting when it came to accessing needed technologies and resources.
However, developments in ICT has changed all that, and the recent announcement of new innovations by Microsoft looks to increase that capability even further: whether you are an enterprise or a small business.
Microsoft announced the availability of several new Office 365 communications options that will improve the way its users interact with voice, video, and meeting experiences while lowering the cost in their communication infrastructure.
As a service delivered through the cloud, Office 365 can be more flexible in the way it makes the collaboration and productivity tools available, including communications with Skype for Business.
The current workforce environment has changed to include more collaboration and remote work, this is particularly the case for millennials. Today’s employees don’t want any limitations on how or where they can work by accessing company resources and initiating a conversation with their coworkers, partners or even customers. For small businesses, the ability to carry out these functions has proven invaluable.
The new improvements in Office 365 are built on the Skype user interface and uses Skype for Business to make connections much simpler.
The features include:
- Skype Meeting Broadcast – This feature has been designed to simplify the way in which anyone can be part of a virtual meeting. While small businesses might not have 10,000 attendees for a meeting, when they do grow, they can have that option. Using a browser and any web enabled device, it is possible to bring thousands of people together seamlessly.
- PSTN Conferencing – This extends the traditional phone system to the digital world, so users can dial into a meeting and participate. The ability to join a virtual meeting also extends to a mobile device or PC with just a single click.
- Cloud PBX – Gives businesses access to a PBX for a more professional presence. And the new improvement also brings together traditional PBX system to the cloud with Office 365 so it can be part of a central platform to manage the communication of user within a company.
- PSTN Calling – Even though most businesses are using IP and other digital telephony systems, PSTN is still being used. Office 365 users can subscribe to Microsoft managed calling plans and phone numbers. This option is available in the U.S. now, with additional markets to follow.
Additional features announced by Microsoft include, more partners in the communications segment with companies such as BT Global Services, Orange Business Services, SoftBank, TATA Communications and Telstra. And increased value from security and analytics with advanced eDiscovery, threat protection, customer lockbox, power business analytics and delve analytics.
During the announcement of the new feature at the annual Convergence EMEA conference on November 30 in Spain, Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela said:
“As businesses strive to keep up with the pace of change, they are looking to technology to drive digital transformation. Microsoft can help businesses achieve their transformations by empowering individuals and organizations with innovative solutions that unleash the productivity and potential of their workforce, spur entirely new ways of collaborating, and infuse intelligence into their systems and processes.”
While not all the new capabilities Microsoft announced may be suited for small businesses, there are many options that are available to improve how they can communicate and secure their digital presence.
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