As companies emerge from the pandemic, hybrid work is on every IT leader’s mind. The questions sound something like this: How can my organization continue to maximize collaboration when implementing a hybrid working environment? What are the best collaboration tools we can offer employees from among the expensive, billowing feature sets found across various over-the-top (OTT) collaboration solutions? 

CEOs and CIOs want to invest in business applications that drive growth, but not at the expense of incurring rising costs. Employees want to work where they want when they want. IT leaders want to find the middle ground. This doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game if you know what features to look for as you hybridize your workforce.

7 Must-Have Collaboration Capabilities Every Business Requires

What are the core collaboration capabilities you need to conquer the challenges hybrid work presents? Tagging blurred video backgrounds with animal stickers are cool for the kids but are the incremental costs of the feature worth the squeeze to the business? Probably not! It’s time to apply a more discerning purchase approach because top-level license packages are full of features that cater to one to two percent of your employee base.

Mitel has 50 years of communications and collaboration capabilities under our belt, so we know what will give customers the greatest return on their collaboration investment today. Here’s my take on the seven fundamentals that every company embracing hybrid working will need:

  1. One-to-one Messaging and Presence Awareness: Let’s start with an easy one. One-to-one messaging with clear presence and availability awareness for all your employees. A seamless tool that tracks the presence of your entire company is fundamental. Presence-aware, one-to-one messaging is the heart of collaboration, enabling most of today’s business communications. Yet for many companies, contact center agents are still on an island: the company is not unified. In this era of ever-increasing customer expectations, allowing the contact center agent to know when an expert employee is available is critical to solving the next customer issue. A simple messaging app like MiCollab that provides the foundation for 1:1 messaging company-wide can make a tremendous difference in a multi-vendor collaboration tool environment. MiCollab is a boon to all employees, be they knowledge workers, on the manufacturing floor, in the warehouse, or interacting with customers from the contact center.

  2. Mobile and Desktop Find Me, Follow Me: While hybrid working is a big topic these days, it’s not a new concept. For many years, the sales reps that drive revenue for companies worked a business lifestyle where they are partially in the office, at home, on the road, and sometimes in their customer’s or partner’s location. The tested and proven combination of video, collaboration tools, and calling via ring groups ensures your communications will find you wherever you are. This collaborative connective tissue is fundamental for the hybrid worker and Mitel delivered this capability to sales organizations long before the pandemic broadened the need for other departments across the enterprise. As hybrid working company initiatives emerge, Mitel is extending these benefits to all employees.

  3. Seamless Message to Video Launch (1:1 or Group): There is no question that video took business communications by storm. We have all learned how to join a video call and most people have a good handle on numerous video application capabilities. One of the best business productivity accelerators is to start an ad hoc outreach with a simple message to a fellow employee: “you there?” and follow an affirmative response with an instantaneous, highly immersive video meeting with one click. To broaden the discussion, easily add additional team members with a quick directory search and invite them to join the ad hoc video meeting room. This use case is accelerating productivity for companies using MiCollab with MiTeam Meetings today. Our customers are solving business problems spontaneously, using a spare five minutes, every day. The benefits to the business all add up.

  4. Team Collaboration Workspaces and Group Messaging: The team is the fundamental workhorse of business agility. Having the ability to share ideas, crowd-source responses, or quickly complete a process across a workgroup (big or small) helps drive businesses forward. Establishing effective team collaboration workspaces and communications enhances a team’s ability to get work done productively. Separate groups by topic, function, or working projects to create a business framework, or simply let groups form organically. These workspaces, supported by group messaging, facilitate the rapid and effective collaboration you need to occur between scheduled meetings. Groups can manage voice call traffic through Group Call pick-up and ensure calls for members of the group are answered the first time. This is a great feature for customer- or partner-facing organizations: enabling instantaneous collaboration via MiTeam Streams within Mitel’s MiCollab client lets team members feel as if they are working side-by-side in the same room.

  5. Team Face-to-Face Video Contact, Team Share, Document Share, and Messaging: We come together in different working groups every day and often, multiple times per day. Keeping track of team members, comments, meeting notes, documents shared, and previous meetings are fundamental for continued progress in any team. Having a common workspace where this team collaboration can come together — either by voice or video — is a real advantage. MiTeam Meetings provides this foundation for sound decision-making and faster business progress.

  6. Lite Telephony Clients: For a good portion of your work colleagues, a traditional phone call simply works. When it’s just voice, and no visual cues to pick up on, you want clarity of tone to get clarity of message. You can take advantage of Mitel’s great call quality by deploying MiCollab and Mitel’s telephony-only client on your desktop to work with your OTT collaboration client. Your employees will see a simple pop-up toaster on their desktop or mobile phone right from within the third-party collaboration app. They won’t even know it’s Mitel, but they will certainly hear the difference.

  7. The Desk Phone is Still Alive and Kicking: While the use of video collaboration and soft clients is pervasive in the current business climate, in times of failure, the desk phone serves several key purposes. Fundamentally, it drives continuity of critical communications when things go wrong. Local survivability and robust communications allow for calling when advanced collaboration means are not available. Not all workers are at a desktop, so the desk phone serves them for critical business communications. With the prevalence of video comms, you can leverage your phone as your primary audio channel and take advantage of the robust voice quality delivered by Mitel’s telephony infrastructure.

Invest in the best, don’t pay for the rest

While employees will continue to re-evaluate how much time they wish to work remotely versus in the office, hybrid work is here to stay. With the right set of business communications features, you can create an agile, collaborative environment that allows employees to be productive any time, from anywhere.  

You probably have a long list of initiatives you want to fund. Why not stretch your IT budget further by taking stock of your collaboration and communication needs? Ask yourself: do you need the features to serve all the corner cases provided in the top tier, feature bundle from all your collaboration vendors? Mitel can cover the core collaboration capabilities you need to serve all your employees, and you can deploy them as you want, when you want. We’re ready to help.

Paul Ginn

Product Marketing Director

Paul has over 25 years of communications marketing experience. Throughout his career, he's been responsible for all forms of marketing within the enterprise, carrier and wireless communications industry segments. Today, Paul leads Mitel’s product marketing team, which is responsible for planning, creating and managing all new product go-to-market introductions.

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