We interview Antonio Cruz, new director of Modern Workplace

Lately, Microsoft Teams has reached unexpected limits. In fact, we have tried to keep up with the news day in and day out and it is often impossible. That’s why, given the growing interest in Teams, we decided to contact Antonio Cruz, Director of Modern Workplace at Microsoft Ibérica.

Antonio has been with the company for some time and was responsible for showing us the Surface Hub 2S. Now in his new position he was going to accept our interview through Teams, but due to scheduling issues he sent it to us in writing. Give him reasons so we can meet next time for Teams.

Interview with Antonio Cruz, Director of Modern Workplace at Microsoft Ibérica

We’ll highlight our questions so you can follow the interview thread. It’s very interesting how they see the situation with Teams and its growth from the inside out.

M. As you see the situation with Microsoft Teams, their numbers are amazing and it seems endless.

The truth is, we are so proud to be able to help millions of people in their daily lives communicate, collaborate, learn and be more productive, at least in this exceptional year. Since its launch over 3 years ago, Microsoft Teams has been designed as a reconciliation tool. Also achieve smarter communication between members of any business or educational institution, regardless of their size.

Throughout this period, more and more organizations, colleges and universities are discovering the benefits of a tool that promotes collaborative work. Inside and outside the office or classroom walls. Something that this year, for reasons we all know, has been fundamental.

The fact that Teams is an intuitive and easy to use tool has enabled thousands of companies and schools around the world to comfortably transform the way they work and teach remotely. We have seen a 250% increase in the number of daily users, currently reaching 115 million people. That’s over 30 billion minutes of collaboration in a single day.

M. In fact, Jeff Teper, vice president of Microsoft 365, indicated that it could be more important than Windows. Do you think it can come to this?

At Microsoft, our goal is to innovate to provide people with the best tools that allow them to do more in their everyday lives – at home, at work, and at school. In that sense, I think Windows 10 and Teams complement each other to achieve this goal.

Windows 10 topped 1 billion users this year, opening up new ways for the industry to use technology in our everyday lives. For its part, we have a tool like Teams. It brings your entire workflow together in one place and encourages better communication on any device, any platform, and anywhere. In short, it is about providing the user with options that adapt to his needs. Promote greater collaboration and ensure security at all times.

M. Team use is also due to teleworking in many companies. Do you think Teams is here to stay or that when the pandemic is over we’ll be back to normal?

The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the digital transformation of many companies that until now had not decided to take the plunge. Indeed, according to our latest study, in which more than 9000 managers and employees of companies with more than 250 employees from all over Europe were consulted, barely a year ago, only 15% of companies had a policy of telecommuting. Today that figure has risen to 76% in Europe and 83% in Spain. Managers have understood the opportunities that teleworking can bring in terms of employee productivity and flexibility.

Our study also reveals that on average, both in Europe and in Spain, workers would like to spend at least a third of their time outside the traditional office environment. However, don’t lose sight of the value of going to the office. Contact with colleagues succeeds in strengthening ties which also promote greater innovation. In short, we are faced with a hybrid working model that has accelerated in the wake of the pandemic, but has remained.

M. What do you think of when you see Together mode or Team Together mode in the pits of the NBA. With personalities like Obama and Gasol.

The Together mode recently included in Teams is another example of how artificial intelligence can help us in different aspects, bringing people together more if possible. We are in a year of constant reinvention, and like many other industries, sports entertainment has been forced to connect with its fans in new ways through technology. At Microsoft, we admire this passion that connects players, teams and fans from all over the world, like the NBA. These kinds of things inspire us to keep innovating to bring solutions to the table that people can benefit from in their everyday lives.

In the professional environment, Together mode, by providing a viewing experience that makes everyone feel like they’re in the same place, helps reduce background distractions, makes it easier to detect non-verbal cues, and makes conversations a meeting is more natural. In addition, it adds a fun component that brings remote meetings closer to participants.

These kinds of things keep us innovating

M. What are the following goals that you set for yourself with Teams that you would like to see that people ask you?

We’ve improved and added new features to Teams, based on feedback, requests, and suggestions from our customers and users. Since its launch, features have been added to all applications, both desktop and mobile, with features that adapt to the specific needs of each profile and each type of use.

Currently, you can leave suggestions or report any kind of issue through our UserVoice channel. All of this user feedback lets us know firsthand the needs and preferences of thousands of users, and it’s factored in when offering the constant updates Teams receives periodically. The best version of Teams will always be the following one incorporating the suggestions we receive every day.

Will Mr. Skype be completely replaced by teams or will they be able to live together in harmony?

Skype has connected millions of people for a long time and this year countless families and friends have used it more than ever to stay connected despite the distance. In addition, we have incorporated new functions such as “Meet Now” to organize and invite people to the same video call in an even easier and faster way. Let’s say Skype focuses more on helping communication and is mostly limited to a personal sphere while Teams focuses on collaboration – including communication – and focuses, by default, on the professional side without harming its use on a personal level. .

As Satya Nadella put it recently: “Work takes place before, during and after a meeting. And this is where Teams shows its full value: from hosting the information available in the tool before the meeting so that it can be prepared and made more efficient, to viewing documents during the meeting from within Teams without having to leave Teams or open them in Word, Excel, Powerpoint, or save the meeting and leave it available to participants with notes from the meeting when it ends at the same location where the meeting took place with the chat history ”.

This differentiates Teams as a collaboration tool from Skype and other tools that are only geared towards communication and brings additional productivity to meetings. Likewise, Microsoft Teams, in its personal mode, offers a different way to connect family and friends in one app. In addition to chats or calls, Teams offers possibilities to facilitate collaboration with your loved ones. For example, planning a trip, organizing an event or celebration, or sharing files through the app.

In this sense, we are faced with two tools centered on differentiated tasks and uses. Allow users to choose the option that best suits their needs depending on how and when they want to use them.

M. It has always been said that in the house of the blacksmith wooden spoon … At Microsoft Iberian you use Teams or it has not yet been imposed.

In our case, Microsoft Teams has become our office. Which logically led to a decrease in the volume of emails in the inbox. We have adapted each type of communication to your channel and to collaborate by choosing the optimal tool in each case. All colleagues use Teams in our remote meetings.

Both with other colleagues and with customers, partners, suppliers etc … Being such an intuitive collaboration platform, in a very short time, people started to enjoy its full potential. When collaborating on documents, creating teams and channels for specific projects, or integrating internal or third-party applications into Teams. And it’s not just limited to Microsoft Iberian, but it’s spread to any part of the world. Encourage better communication with colleagues from other regions such as Europe or the United States, for example.

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