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Microsoft Face to Face Meetings - extending them to any device and any platform

[fa icon="calendar"] 1 November 2018 / by Simon Hunt

Simon Hunt

Here we examine the different stages of Microsoft Collaboration:

Stage 1 - Team Collaboration

Stage 2 - Siloed Collaboration

Stage 3 - Familiar Collaboration

Stage 4 - True Collaboration

Connect the Communication silos - Communication face to face across any platform

The Problem

Microsoft and other platforms have simply been silos unable to connect to other platforms for Face to face meetings.

Extending Microsoft face-to-face for business meetings has always has a limit as to how far you can extend face to face meetings.

What do we we mean by "extend"?

There are two answers to this a technology answer and a business benefit answer and in this article we’ll attempt to explain both.

Let's start, with the technology stages:


Microsoft has for years been preaching productivity as its major goal for the enterprise and small business alike and Skype for business and the office suite has improved dramatically to make major steps towards productivity increases.

However, many IT directors and CTO's sold Skype for Business in with a business case that was based on travel savings.

If you can imagine how bizarre this concept is, a company whose productivity is going to increase using Skype for Business is actually going to increase activity. The CTO/IT director would argue that productivity would enable more work with Skype for Business tools.

The Crux of the issue

However, If you study a typical corporate teams activity day by day, the activity that leads to travel is largely external to the organisation with partners, suppliers, contractors and of course customers. So as you increase productivity you will actually see the converse i.e. an increase in travel budgets unless you deal with the fundamental issue at Microsoft Skype for Business does not connect natively to any device or platform that a supplier, customer or partner might have.

Whilst the author appreciates fully that you can federate or in simple terms whitelist another Microsoft user, so that you can connect your two Microsoft systems for face-to-face meetings. The fact is that it is still Microsoft to Microsoft and only certain devices can be used to access the service.

What the fundamental issue demonstrated by the image below, is that Microsoft users exist in a silo, and that silo needs to be connected to other platforms the customers, contractors partners and suppliers may have, in order to eliminate or reduce travel.

For those that like structured thinking it’s quite easy to break down the stages of Microsoft face-to-face collaboration and evolution, as we see them, into four stages and two parts.

The two parts represent those companies that:

Part One:  The Companies are still in the Microsoft silo (88%+)  

Part Two : Those companies that have gone beyond the Microsoft boundary and collaborate openly (12%)

We can examine where companies are in a four stage collaboration path broken down as follows:

Microsoft Skype for Business team connectivity

Part one in the Microsoft collaboration world starts with Stage 1 - Team Collaboration

Stage one is a typical Microsoft customer that is using Skype for business for presence, chat and face-to-face meetings, but purely internally. If you’re not in the internal company Microsoft Directory then you have no access to face-to-face meetings with this customer. This represents about 64% of Skype for Business customers, according to our surveys.

Microsoft Skype for Business siloed collaboration

Stage 2 is the stage referred to earlier where a Microsoft house, let’s say an engineering company, has agreed to federate or white list other Microsoft houses in its supply chain or customer base. Typically these are companies that it frequently deals with.

Stage 2

This represents another 24% of customers and we call list silo the collaboration

Part Two BEYOND THE MICROSOFT BOUNDARY is exciting and requires introduction and context.

Here the organization begins to stretch his legs and enter the world of collaboration to any device ,the huge advantage here being, that these devices are familiar to the user. This is the first step of collaboration beyond the organisation.

Skype for Business Familiar Collaboration

Stage 3  is therefore what we call or have termed, familiar collaboration.   

Familiar collaboration has the major benefit of being able to connect to any camera and Wi-Fi enabled device, for example Video equipment. By legacy video, we mean Polycom, Cisco, life-size or Starleaf.

Enterprise customers see this as a  major benefit, firstly we can connect Skype for business to video this enables you to sweat your video assets and at the same time being able to utilise your new investment in Skype for Business.

Stage 3 - Familiar Collaboration

Imagine this, you can connect any “standards based” video unit a video unit that any supplier, customer, partner or contractor might have and share content with Skype for Business users, that’s impressive, but it is just the basics.

Will cover the more advanced applications in a chapter called “dialout” and “drag n drop” in the next paper. For the moment let’s continue and close stage three. So a Company embracing collaboration is an organization that has taken a huge step forward.

The benefits don't stop there, with familiar cool collaboration you can connect Skype for business users to anybody in or out of side your organisation, who has camera enabled laptops, desktops ,video equipment or just a phone.  The key is, all of these different devices are familiar to the user and can be connected to your core Skype for Business infrastructure.

Skype For Business True Collaboration

Stage 4 - True Collaboration.

Stage 4 delivers what we called true collaboration.

We call it true collaboration because quite simply true collaboration is the way it should be, with the IT director/CTO that has the ability to connect not just to any device as in Stage 3, but any platform. This is powerful and one major way for the IT director or CTO to be certain, he or she, has the power of flexibility, for armed with the ability to connect any device and any platform.

Microsoft Beyond the Communication Boundaries

As soon as you cross the True Collaboration boundary you can question the travel savings as the company now has familiar devices and platforms to offer customers, as ways of connecting with its Skype for Business environment. 

For the finance director now he/she has the ability to question travel and the need for it, for not only has he/she equipped the organisation with the ability to meet face-to-face without travel, his/her CTO has added the flexibility to do so, with any organisation, with any device and with any platform, regardless of its source Apple, Cisco, Polycom or Google.

The true collaboration is the full Stage 4 Microsoft evolutionary stage and very few companies have made it, our surveys show less than 4% of the organizations surveyed. That draws us to the Technology end of the discussion, now onto the Business Benefits.

3D Face to Face communication - Virtual Meeting Room benefits

The business benefits are numerous, but at the core they relate to enhanced communication through what we term as 3D. 3D communication delivers the emotional intelligence that you gain from face-to-face communication, so let's explain what we mean by 3D.

1D is hearing only communication typically audio conferencing or email where the brain is processing words not going to the short term memory with obvious shortcomings.

2D is a huge Leap Forward and employees not just hearing the visualisation of images images that go into the long-term memory with huge benefits those benefits I'm not just the ability to recall the image from your long-term memory but also to comprehend it research has has has shown 60000 times faster than you do the written word.

3D employees 2D plus the ability to see body language body language has been programmed to contribute up to 55% of a meetings message this quite simply explained while some meetings have just got to be face to face they're too important for either 1D or 2D communication.

When you extend Microsoft face to face communication to what we call 4D any device and then 5D any platform, the business benefits become tangible.

Close Global, Wainhouse Charts Benefits

Wainhouse Research conducted a study of 4000 users of Visual communication to establish the benefits that those users derived from using 3D visual communication.

In today's world where companies have to disrupt before their markets are disrupted by competitors, gaining a competitive communication edge, when they invest in 3D-5D communication, is vital.

Especially when that is shown to deliver not just higher productivity, but faster input into decisions and Better Business Decisions.

3D communication benefits for corporate business leaders

However, the benefits don't just stop there, faster momentum as a business is one thing,  the softer benefits on morale, on employees, on business recruitment and retention, are obvious to perceive.

A recent Deloitte survey showed only 13% of employees were highly engaged in their business and only 49% would record that would recommend their company to a peer or friend. And any Team Leader, department head or CEO can reverse these percentages when engaging in 3D-5D communication.    

Clearly a company that invests in 5D communication, Is delivering a far wider range of benefits to its employees, as well as the company.

The graphic above aims to highlight the benefits of moving from an organisation where the entire company and its employees are restricted on the left to a company that is frictionless and make good decisions quickly in an informed way.

For both the CTO and finance director the initiative of moving to True Collaboration releases the the powerful opportunity to reduce travel, to amplify the opportunity to connect face-to-face whilst at the same time delivering to the CEOs a huge productivity gain.

Simon Hunt the author founded Close the 5D communication company that delivers face to face meetings on any device and any platform.

Close Introduction

Top 10 Skype for Business True Collaboration tips

Useful Links

Use Cases Hardware based

Extending Skype For Business face to face meetings

Skype For Business ROI

Microsoft Graph explanation

Skype For Business consolidate solutions for audio, SFB and Video

Extend Microsoft Video

Extending Skype For Business

The Microsoft Graph and Going Native

Plugin or Native

Microsoft Silo busting video

Freemium Video

Topics: extend microsoft

Simon Hunt

Written by Simon Hunt

Simon is the Founder of Close - the True Collaboration Company.

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