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By 10 March 2020 | Categories: feature articles

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Covid 19, which has impacted individuals and organisations around the globe, is now confirmed in South Africa, and local businesses need to turn to technology that empowers unified communication, collaboration, and remote working in order to maintain productivity and continue operating under such restrictive conditions.

That is the view of Basha Pillay, Business Unit Lead - Modern Platform, at Altron Karabina.

“Companies can mitigate risk by using platforms such as Microsoft Teams, which is fairly simple and straightforward to use, allowing people to chat, meet and share information seamlessly. Given that most individuals today use some form of social media and messaging platform, to learn how to use Teams is as simple as using one of those platforms,” he explained.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Pillay added that since Teams comes as part of Microsoft Office 365 - the market leader - it is much easier to deploy and use in conjunction with any or all other Microsoft products, while it has numerous out-of-the-box third-party integrations. This, he asserted, makes it “the most viable hub” to work across with other tools that a business has already invested in.

“Teams forms an integral part of the Office 365 suite. Whomever is the administrator of the organisation’s tenant will need to ensure that all users have access and the allocated licenses needed to operate Teams. Teams is accessible across most devices whether they be PCs, Macs or mobile devices, so ensuring that users have the apps installed is another key thing that IT admins will need to drive,” continued Pillay.

He noted that Microsoft is showing their commitment to customers during COVID-19 by offering Microsoft Teams for free for the next 6 months. If your organisation is licensed for Office 365, you already have it. But, he enthused, Microsoft wants to make sure everyone has access to it during this time. 

If you work for a business that isn’t currently licensed for Teams, you can avail yourself to a free Office 365 E1 offer for six months.

Alternatively, if you work in education and want to set up teachers, students, and administrators on Teams, Pillay encourages using Office 365 A1. This free version of Office 365 is available to all educational institutions.

Adopting a modern workstyle

According to Pillay, turning to such solutions enables businesses to adopt a modern workstyle, which goes well beyond stemming the spread of the Coronavirus, or mitigating the long-standing South African challenge of load shedding.

“One of the biggest benefits has always been the reduction in travel due to the advancements in technologies like Microsoft Teams that allows you to have a chat, meeting and video conference on demand with people within and outside your organisation and collaborate on documents and whiteboards as if though in the same physical location,” he stressed.

Pillay pointed out that as with any new way of doing things, change management - especially in cases where employees will be working across different workplace generations - will be a key driver to ensure that Teams is well-integrated into the organisation.

“Companies can further assist by providing tools for users to operate efficiently from home or anywhere else, as well as one of the most vital ingredients that makes all of this possible - adequate internet connectivity,” he concluded.

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