Over the past year, many organizations have stagnated or struggled as a result of the global pandemic. Other businesses, specifically those who benefit from the widespread shift to remote work, have achieved unprecedented growth—none more so than video conferencing providers. Now, platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom are introducing new features that position them to become much more than video communication tools. And while these new features will benefit users in a big way, they also pose new challenges for IT departments.
This month, Microsoft announced the addition of a wide array of new app integrations to the Teams platform. While the Teams chat function already offers access to hundreds of third-party apps, these new integrations enable users to interact with nearly 20 different apps during their video meetings. The new Teams apps include project management tools like Asana and Monday, job interview platforms like HireVue, and polling tools like Slido.
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The announcement won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has followed the ongoing battle for video conference supremacy in 2020. In October, Microsoft Teams’ biggest competitor, Zoom, unveiled its “Zapps” integrations, which allow users to access a range of applications within Zoom meetings, including Slack, Salesforce, and Dropbox.
Video conferencing tools have become all-encompassing platforms in 2020
Even prior to the pandemic, the use of video conferencing for business communication has been steadily on the rise. In 2020, that growth skyrocketed. Consider the following statistics:
- Web conferencing has seen the biggest growth among app categories in 2020, with an 627% increase in downloads in North America and 121% increase in daily active users.
- Microsoft Teams’ usage has jumped 50% in the past year. Teams now has 115 million daily active users.
- 67% of companies have increased their spending for video conferencing in the wake of the pandemic.
- The video conferencing market is set to reach a value of more than $13 billion by 2023.
So, whether or not we all return to the office and the business world returns to normalcy in 2021, it’s clear that video conferencing will continue to be a ubiquitous presence across all industries. The recent news regarding integrations, however, suggests that Teams and Zoom aren’t just racing to be the best or most popular video conferencing tool. They’re innovating to become more than video conferencing tools.
It’s a wise business move, particularly in 2020 when companies and employees are using more apps and solutions than ever before. On average, the number of unique apps being used per company has risen 30% year over year. Another recent study suggests that the average employee switches between applications more than 1,100 times per day.
These new integrations make video meetings more efficient and productive, reducing the time spent toggling between apps. Users who manage tasks through Asana, for example, can now add the Asana app to a Teams meeting and create action items within the video window itself. Microsoft has also added new functionalities that enable companies to build their own custom apps that integrate with Teams meetings.
With these new features, Teams and Zoom are no longer just video meeting tools in a company’s workspace. They’ve now become full-scale platforms that encompass the entire workspace itself. And as more apps gain popularity in the remote work era, we’ll surely see the top two video conferencing providers add even more integrations to their platforms.
The rise in app usage and integrations brings new challenges for IT
On the surface, it’s a good thing that employees have so many effective apps at their disposal. Likewise, it’s a good thing that video conferencing tools are introducing such a wide array of integrations to help users manage their workspace more efficiently.
However, any change that impacts employee behavior also presents new challenges for IT departments. Every new app and integration opens the door for new technical problems, outages, and support requests. In other words, when the number of tools employees are using increases, so too do the standards for IT service.
Learn more about some of Nexthink’s latest integrations in our recent blog post: Exploring New Integration Opportunities with Azure Data Lake and Power BI.
If an IT department lacks visibility into end-user behavior, a wave of new apps and integrations will only compound their existing problems. A reactive approach to incident resolution is a recipe for disaster when the potential for incidents is at an all-time high.
So, IT departments must adapt in order to meet these higher standards. It’s essential for IT to have more than just visibility into technological problems that have already occurred; they must seek to gain a holistic visibility of their end-users’ daily experiences.
For some tips on how IT can stay on top of end-user activity in 2020 and beyond, check out our recent blog post: Measuring Employee Experience in the Remote Work Era.
Key Takeaways from the Newest Video Conferencing Integrations
The pandemic has brought some trends to a screeching halt and rapidly accelerated others. The success of video conferencing platforms has been the biggest positive trend. And we’re seeing the results of that success now, as Microsoft and Zoom lead the charge in transforming the way users interact with their products.
It’s a trend that will undoubtedly continue among all digital solution providers, not just video conferencing providers. As the modern employee uses more and more applications on a daily basis, IT teams will need to prioritize tools that come together to form one efficient workflow.
For IT professionals, these trends only emphasize the need for proactive monitoring and holistic visibility into the many tools and integrations employees are using. It’s essential for IT teams to assess and iterate their strategy, so that more apps and integrations result in more productivity—without resulting in more IT issues.
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