A couple of weeks ago Lucidity’s CEO, Paul O’Brien and I commenced our 15-hour journey to the Nevada Desert for Microsoft Inspire which was hosted in Las Vegas. Both being first time attendees, Paul and I weren’t exactly sure what to expect, and I think I speak for both of us when I say that the event surpassed all expectations.
The conference started with a corenote session led by Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft’s Corporate VP of their One Commercial Partner team. This session reflected on success stories from the previous year and highlighted where Microsoft believes the biggest market opportunities will come from for partners.
In Lucidity’s case, the Modern Workplace pillar is where we are placing our primary focus.
Our Lucidity 365 product is the front-end of our Modern Workplace solution which can be built on top of the Microsoft 365 group of products. This was one of the biggest takeaways for me personally, Microsoft don’t always get it right first time but once they do, it usually makes a compelling use case. We are now approaching that stage with Microsoft 365.
Not only does it include Office 365, which the overwhelming majority of New Zealand businesses are already using, but it also includes both endpoint management & protection tools; Intune and EMS. It also brings Windows Licensing into the M365 product family, ensuring you always have the latest version of Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, similar in the way you will always have the latest version of the Office apps from Office 365.
These tools combined can deliver a very high level of security, and with Microsoft’s machine learning platform sitting behind it all, businesses can better protect themselves from threats by leveraging the powerful Microsoft security eco-system. This level of integration and smarts is something that very few other corporations in the entire world could offer, making the M365 offering an intriguing option for New Zealand businesses.
Lucidity 365 then sits over the top of M365, delivering a user-friendly workspace for users to bring all of their disparate tools together into a single location.
Anyway, back to Inspire… the real highlight for me came during the Wednesday corenote session with Satya Nadella. He and his team demonstrated some very cool tech that was coming, including Hololens 2 with a very cool demo immersing Satya into a Minecraft world.
The power & potential of Teams
More relevant to Lucidity was some of the work and integration that is being done with Microsoft Teams. Already a powerful collaboration tool, it is now being taken to the next level with integrated voice services (which Lucidity already offer) and further integration between Teams and other Office applications.
A great example of how the power of Teams can be harnessed was presented with a case study on the University of New South Wales. A lecturer had a problem whereby he had a very large engineering class of 500 students and he had the challenge of engaging with a class of that size. As with many modern-day problems the solution lay in technology.
He started out with using a disparate range of digital tools including OneNote for lecture notes and streaming lectures on YouTube. He then came across Teams and made an early, conscious decision to start to harness the collaborative power it offers.
The lecture notes that were in OneNote, are now pulled into Teams as well. Lectures are streamed and posted into Teams by Microsoft Stream and class quizzes are delivered using Microsoft Forms (both of which are part of the Office 365 toolkit). Exam results are now provided via Power BI, which gives the student greater insight into how they are performing compared to their peers, while also providing the University greater detail into performance trends.
Due to these changes, student engagement level has increased dramatically and got to the point where UNSW decided to take Teams to the next level. They made the call to leverage the power of AI (artificial intelligence) and started using a tool called Question Bot.
Question Bot allowes students to ask questions that are then logged as service tickets which tag that student’s tutor to answer the question. They then trained the Bot to look at the knowledge base that had been built on Teams to begin to answer the questions without needing the tutor at all! (Scary, but also exciting!!)
The results of these changes are incredible, student satisfaction with the course has increased to 99% and 100% of the students agreed they are now part of a learning community.
I must admit, watching this case study left Paul and I very excited. It instantly got the creative juices flowing, and we came back from Inspire with a clear remit on further developing what we are doing with Teams internally. It can be so much more than a Skype for Business replacement, it is a true hub for collaboration with its integrations now stretching far and wide.
Businesses should be identifying their challenges in how they engage with colleagues & customers and then working out if there is a smarter way of doing it. They should be looking to consolidate systems into easy to use frameworks, using tools that they are already paying for with their Office 365 licensing. Then they should be looking at how they can use this increased level of engagement to drive better business decisions using analytical tools like Power BI.
If your business could benefit from an overhaul of your systems, or even if you just want to know more about the basic features of Teams and Teams Voice, please reach out – we can help you no matter where you are on your Teams journey.