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March 14, 2017
Computing on the Edge

March 7, 2017
Cars Need Digital Safety Standards Too

February 28, 2017
The Messy Path to 5G

February 24, 2017
AMD Launches Ryzen CPU

February 21, 2017
Rethinking Wearable Computing

February 17, 2017
Samsung Heir Arrest Unlikely to Impact Sales

February 14, 2017
Modern Workplaces Still More Vision Than Reality

February 10, 2017
Lenovo Develops Energy-Efficient Soldering Technology

February 7, 2017
The Missing Map from Silicon Valley to Main Street

January 31, 2017
The Network vs. The Computer

January 27, 2017
Facebook Adds Support For FIDO Security Keys

January 24, 2017
Voice Drives New Software Paradigm

January 20, 2017
Tesla Cleared of Fault in NHTSA Crash Probe

January 17, 2017
Inside the Mind of a Hacker

January 13, 2017
PC Shipments Stumble but Turnaround is Closer

January 10, 2017
Takeaways from CES 2017

January 3, 2017
Top 10 Tech Predictions for 2017

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TECHnalysis Research Blog Extra

March 17, 2017
Microsoft Unveils Teams Chat App

By Bob O'Donnell

Microsoft took the wraps off the newest member of their Office 365 application suite this week with the release of Teams, a multi-platform persistent chat application design to encourage collaboration in the workplace. Perceived as a direct competitor to Slack, Teams provides an environment where co-workers can communicate in real time via chat, document sharing and editing, calendar and contact integration, and more. Thanks to integration with Skype for Business, Teams also simplifies the process of creating and initiating voice and videoconferencing as well.

One of the key attractions of Teams versus something like Skype is the fact that it seamlessly integrates with all the Office applications, so document creation and editing occurs with the “real” versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. In addition, Teams works with SharePoint to allow workers to find and store documents on shared company storage.

As potentially capable as tools like Teams (and Slack) may be, however, there can be challenges in getting individuals to use them on a regular basis. While startups and newer companies that don’t necessarily have much communications infrastructure in place have been quick to jump onto these tools—and many would absolutely swear by their capabilities—things are tougher in larger and more established companies. In these organizations, email and voice calls are still the primary means of communication and collaboration.

Recent research I completed on workplace trends, in fact, showed that while approximately 30% of companies said they currently had some kinds of persistent chat tool available to them, only 4% of their collaboration with people outside their company and 5% of these efforts with co-workers are done using this kind of tool. So, clearly some education and awareness training needs to come with the installation of these new tools to drive wider usage.

In the case of Teams, Microsoft has helped grease the wheels by making it a free add-on to existing Office 365 customers. Obviously, this will reduce some basic sources of potential friction, but research indicates that to move away from old communication and collaboration habits, companies need to have strong internal advocates at the management level to essentially force the transition to these new tools. As with many important new technologies, simply having a better widget (or application, in this case) isn’t good enough to guarantee the kind of success that comes with widespread usage. Instead, it takes a long-term education and awareness training regimen to get people to realize that the new tools can make their work lives more effective and productive.

Here's a link to the column:

Bob O’Donnell is the president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a market research firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. You can follow him on Twitter @bobodtech.

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