The work-from-home period of the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed collaboration tools from being a “nice to have” to a critical business application. Ending the pandemic has led companies to question whether they still need collaborative apps.
The truth is that few companies will bring all employees back to the office five days a week. ZK Research found that 51% of employees plan to work from home two to three days a week and another 24% plan at least one day a week. This indicates that three-quarters of the labor force will be mixed.
It is important to understand that hybrid work is markedly different from telecommuting. Remote work requires a great collaboration experience in one place, while co-working is all about creating that great experience across different locations. Collaboration tools obviously play a major role in this.
This raises the question of which collaborative resource to use. Two heavyweights in the industry Cisco Webex And the Microsoft Teams. From an experience perspective, I find Webex to be much better. When I ask companies why they continue to use Teams, I get responses like “It’s included in our Microsoft license, and it’s good enough for most users.” The teams were used despite the workers being pushed back. In this case, IT professionals made the easy decision; Microsoft makes convincing of the initial cost because Teams is free with Microsoft E3 license.
I would argue that in a world of mixed work, quality is, in fact, not good enough, and IT professionals need to fully understand the differences between the two platforms. Microsoft’s licensing cost advantage is well understood, but I found the advantages of Webex to be unknown. This is because a lot of innovation in Webex has come in the last 12-18 months.
Cisco Systems Retains its default appearance WebexOne event later this month, where the company will be highlighting this innovation. Since the event is so close (October 25-26), I think it would be useful to write a post highlighting several recent innovations, so people who attend can look for new features and capabilities.
From the research I’ve done, here are six areas where I think Webex beats the difference. Most of these can be tried at WebexOne.
1. Smooth cooperation inside and outside the enterprise
Webex and Teams are both effective in enabling workers to communicate with other employees in the same company. However, Webex does a much better job with external collaboration. I encounter this daily when placing a Teams call with another company. With Webex, users retain functionality associated with company accounts, whether internal or external. With Teams, guests lose access to company services and can only access a limited number of features. This can be very frustrating for users when chatting or other capabilities are available at some times but not at others.
Also, Webex is faster to start up when conducting video meetings. It’s built on a common microservices architecture, while Teams is a wrap around multiple legacy solutions. On the last Teams call, the entire video meeting took about a minute to load, while Webex always takes a few seconds.
2. Integrated software and hardware
I get that hardware isn’t as exciting as software, but hardware is definitely important. In the consumer realm, Apple has a huge experience advantage over Android because it makes the hardware, software, and cloud backend the same. The same is true for Webex over Teams, because Webex makes Collaboration devices designed for this purpose With a joint program that provides a high-quality and secure experience. Teams rely on third parties, and this leads to inconsistent capabilities that results in a scattered experience with multiple vulnerabilities.
Webex devices also have many integrated features, such as background noise elimination, virtual backgrounds, and auto pan camera. It’s important to understand that Cisco designed the devices to be multi-vendor so that Webex devices can run Teams meetings as well as Zoom and Google Meetings.
3. Enterprise invitation
Contrary to what many people think, the connection is not dead. People are still making calls and will do so for decades to come. Webex connection It has a notable advantage as it has been providing telephony service for 20+ years over Teams. In fact, when customers add Team phone, the “free” cost advantage is gone; Microsoft’s calling plans quickly become expensive. Also, Teams Phone is missing many important calling features, such as call merging, call recording, and others.
Another issue is that Teams Phone is built on a separate platform from Teams Chat, and this can lead to disconnected experiences. Webex has built call, meeting, messaging and communication centers on a common cloud platform.
An alternative solution for Teams is to use a third-party solution, such as Webex Calling, to provide calling capabilities for Teams. Overall, almost every UC will offer a superior phone experience as compared to Teams Phone. But this approach can add unnecessary complexity and integration challenges.
4. Integration with existing applications
Given Microsoft’s history of being a platform vendor, Teams’ weakness on app integration is a bit shocking. With Webex, integration is two-way; It can be run inside other apps and apps within Webex. Teams supports only one-way integration, which limits user choice. Webex provides open APIs across calls, meetings, messaging, and devices to easily integrate with third parties, while Teams is very limited.
One example of this is the two-way integration that Webex has with Salesforce, which reduces context switching. This allows customers to use Webex Messaging or connect directly to Salesforce. Microsoft has a product that competes with Salesforce and has historically moved away from building tight integrations with the products it competes with.
One irony with Teams is that third parties, such as Webex, work better with other Microsoft applications than with Teams itself. Companies can run Webex in Microsoft applications; This is not the case for Teams.
5. Simplified management
IT professionals should be aware of this, as it affects their functionality: Webex Control Hub is a single control panel for all collaborative workloads, including meetings, calls, messaging, call center, and devices. Teams only supports program management; Devices need to be managed by a third-party manufacturer.
Because Cisco owns Webex, it has extensive real-time security, network troubleshooting, and provides visibility into metrics for quality, usage, security, and environmental data. Teams don’t have real-time notifications or alerts for ongoing meetings, which often puts IT professionals in a firefighting mode.
6. Specialized expertise
Collaboration tools enable more than meetings. They are now used for other events and experiences. Webex has full capabilities for mixed events of up to 100,000 people. Teams are limited in this area and not suitable as a tool for managing large events. Also, Webex has a full-featured cloud call center for customer engagement. Microsoft released a trend statement here but doesn’t have any products at the moment. Another modern specialized application is Webex vidcast Producer of asynchronous video (video messages).
I want to make it clear that this was my experience; Each company needs to make its own assessment. Given the importance of collaboration tools, decision makers should not make a choice based on licensing. Use the following as a checklist when selecting the appropriate collaboration resource:
Find a product that enables seamless collaboration with people outside your organization.
Look for integrated software and hardware.
Make specialized use cases and adjacent applications – including a cloud call center, support for large events, and audience engagement – part of the solution.
Look for a solution that provides complete enterprise connectivity, which is still an important business application.
Insist on a solution that can be easily integrated into existing applications, which will make collaboration easier and more reliable.
Ensure that the solution has one complete interface to help manage and support users.
Consider a solution that can scale seamlessly with your organization, control access as needed, and accommodate the full range of employee workflow needs.
Ensure that the solution meets the needs of all workers – regardless of their technical competence, whether they require disabled accommodations in order to perform their jobs, or any other factor that may limit inclusion.