Stop, Collaborate and Listen

I thought I’d use a relevant line from a late 1980s pop song to introduce my blog, but in today’s context I’m not trying to ignite my pop career.

The last month has been busy with many things in the telecoms world. We were invited along to the Gamma partner conference, aptly titled The Sound of Gamma (with matching iconography!), which this year was once again hosted in cinemas across the country.

It’s exciting times in the TSG telecoms team as we have recently been awarded the top partner status of Platinum Partner with Gamma (more to come on that in a future blog), and with new features coming along like Connect and Collaborate, we are well-placed to advise our customers on what this means to their businesses and how it can provide efficiencies.

Many of us take our phones for granted and don’t realise how important they are to communication both within a business and externally. Even fewer of us think about the way in which we might be able to work smarter through utilising technology like Collaborate.

I’ve mentioned Collaborate a few times, so I guess now would be a good time to indulge you with what Collaborate actually is. Collaborate is new functionality that can be added to the Horizon platform (powering TSG’s hosted voice services offering) that turns your voice service into a full unified communications experience, adding video conferencing, conference bridge, chat, screen sharing and presence information across your computing and mobile environment. These features have traditionally been costly additions to enterprise systems but are now available as part of some Gamma Horizon packages and can be an integral part of it, too.

So, what does that mean to your business? You’ve got by without them in the past, so why do you need them now? Well, in short, the way in which we are working with colleagues and customers is changing rapidly.

Take TSG as an example. I’m sure I have mentioned before that I’m fortunate to be one of the 40% (ish) of home-based workers at TSG; I often work from home or customer sites. Some weeks I can cover in excess of 1000 miles visiting our customers across the UK, so maximising office time is essential, especially when working with colleagues across the regions.

It’s essential to implement projects and technologies that contribute to your business’ strategic goals; otherwise, what’s the point? Your business, like most, probably wants to increase its profitability, and that can be achieved through a number of initiatives that can include reducing travel costs and increasing employee productivity.

So how does Collaborate help with that?

Sorry Grant (you can read some of Grant’s musings around security on our blog), I did say I would use the picture… But as you can see, using the Collaborate technology we were able to hold a video call within my personal room, allowing us to effectively meet online. In the above example, Dan is in our Team Valley office (Gateshead), Grant in Bellshill (Glasgow) and me in Leicester. Some 400 miles between north and south, all without leaving the office. But it gets better. We wanted to work on a document which Dan had open on his desktop, so Dan was able to share his desktop with us.

In this example, we haven’t shared what could be a confidential document, but just the desktop (spot our colourful branding). We were able to see what Dan was doing on his desktop all whilst still being able to see the person who was speaking at the time. However, I needed to leave the office, and I was able to move the meeting (as the host) seamlessly across to my iPhone.

The best part of that was there was no disruption to the call or the meeting.

Whilst the screenshots give you an idea of the environment, what are the benefits of using Collaborate? Well it’s probably easier to list them, because there are quite a few:

  • No travel time for any of the three of us (800 miles and 8 hours for 2 of us if we met in the middle in Gateshead) – 16 work hours saved
  • The business saved £360 in mileage expenses
  • 0.11 tonnes of CO2 saved each for the journey, so it’s also good for the planet (based on medium diesel car) – this also helps us with our CSR.

We’ve saved 2 working days and a substantial cost to the business in travel and easily demonstrated a return on the investment in one single 1-hour meeting, in both financial and productivity metrics.

Gamma telephony isn’t just limited to meetings with internal parties. As part of the platform, you’re able to send a link to external parties – like customers, partners or suppliers – who can join via their browser and experience the same environment; great for customer meetings when you can’t physically get on site.

So, in short, Collaborate is a great addition to the Gamma Horizon platform and a tool that provides quick tangible return on investment when used across dispersed teams.

Hopefully this blog has given you a good taster of what Collaborate can do for your business. We’ll also be hosting a webinar to demonstrate the full, powerful capabilities that Collaborate can bring to your business, where you can get all of your questions answered and see the platform in action.


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