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The backlash to video calling and the alternatives

Okay I wouldn’t call just one decision from the CEO of a major bank the indication of a backlash: Citigroup CEO ordains Zoom-free Fridays to ease ‘relentless’ pandemic workday. But come on, how many tales have you already heard of similar woes. Zoom fatigue has become a thing. And its not just about Zoom. Microsoft Teams (disclosure) has built features into their software to try and negate the ill effects of too much time spent on video calls. So what’s a business bod to do?

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A year of tech in charts – pandemic edition

All the charts (click on any to view enlarged) come from an article in the The Information from various different sources: 12 Charts That Show How Tech Took Off During a Year of Shutdowns. The full article requires a subscription but I can share access to The Information with 5 friends or colleagues completely free for 30 days – contact me if interested. It’s well worth it as they do a thorough breakdown of each chart and they are an excellent news source besides.

Here is my super slimmed down, sense-making take on all this, in a nutshell (enough of the superlatives already):

Saying that tech has benefitted from the pandemic sounds like a statement from the department of the bleedin’ obvious. Of course it has and for many obvious reasons. One of them is that technology aids remote work especially technology that is purpose built for it, like collaboration software that supports asynchronous work. Other times, its just that companies that have digitised processes really well stand to benefit – like ride hailing (which didn’t necessarily benefit from the pandemic but have prospered nevertheless) and food delivery (which did).

I’m surprised gaming was not included because that is another huge beneficiary. Other than home working, its probably the biggest reason for the spike in bandwidth.

The jobs dive and start-up formation are more than likely directly correlated. Indirectly too, the move to life online and emptier offices. The general investment, valuations and listings frenzy is probably all down to opportunists or investors wanting to cash in – who knows what happens when the real effects of the pandemic are felt 😬

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Considering Microsoft Teams as a Platform – get started with App templates

In several foundational pieces I have written about Microsoft Teams as a Platform (disclosure). This post gets to some of the detail and focuses on a simple way to get started with use of App templates in Teams. This is a big focus of my work with customers at the moment and I give an overview of the App template library and then dive into two popular Apps.

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In an age of machines human organisations matter – an ode to joy

There is an explosion of automation, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning with many fearing job losses. In the attention economy we have proliferation of social media, questionable content, digital addiction, etc. Freedom of expression knows no bounds yet sensitivities are tested like never before. There are many benefits to adopting these tools and approaches and there are those that countervail – some stand out, either as out of touch dinosaurs or innovators. In all this there are many reasons to be joyful.

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Employee Experience Platform – the birth of a category

This week, Microsoft announced the launch of a new product called Viva (disclosure). Actually it is far more than a new product in many ways. It is also an attempt at consolidating technologies in the employee experience category as well as creating the category. It is also a shrewd leverage of the Teams as a Platform strategy which I have written about several times. Since Viva will be served exclusively through Teams, this is a perfect execution of the Teams as a Platform strategy. And it brings the new product and its functionalities into the Flow of Work.

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On Microsoft Teams and building digital ecosystems and platform businesses

In a recent FT article (registration required) based on an interview with Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, he makes the point that “Teams is on its way to becoming a digital platform as significant as the internet browser, or a computer operating system”. I work with customers on their use of Microsoft Teams (disclosure) day in and day out and can vouch for a lot of what is in that statement. I cannot share too much other than offer my opinion which is what this post is about.

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Tech trends of 2021 number 31

The title of this post is based on an article from Fast Company: Here are the top tech trends of 2021, according to 30 experts. I am adding to the 30. Note I excluded any reference to myself as an expert – I abhor the term. I wouldn’t call myself an expert but I have been known to dabble in trends, past reports here and new one being worked on here. Anyway, it seems a good time of the year to chime in on this topic so read on to see my prediction.

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Slack acquisition – this feels personal

I only say that because of my experience with a similar acquisition (when Yammer was acquired by Microsoft – disclosure) and that I was there at the birth of Enterprise Social. I’ve written lots before (latest posts) and so feel with this vested interest and experience I can also have an opinion as everyone else does, per TechCrunch: Everyone has an opinion on the $27.7B Slack acquisition 😬

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