Full-Circle Collaboration

Full-Circle Collaboration

Collaboration tools have exploded in popularity. Because of this, there are now even more updates and features for you to wade through as you try to keep your meetings on task and your events on schedule.

According to an article by FinancesOnline, the leading attributes of great workplaces include “promotes team building and collaboration” and “provides the latest technology.” And the leading collaboration and communication market growth segments can be found in teamwork apps and communications platform-as-a-service arenas.

With all this growth and change, how can your business stay on top of these trends while also navigating competitive industries during a global pandemic?

That’s why partnering with Meet Me In The Cloud is more important than ever. MMITC has deep expertise, proven methodology, and proven results in a variety of services, including training and technology adoption, event assist services, and much more.

Here are some of the services we offer that can help you address full-circle collaboration needs, all with white-glove support from MMITC.

Collaboration Services

Meet Me In The Cloud is a Customer Experienced Lifecycle Advisor, which means we have been working in the collaboration tool industry for many years. We have created a 6-step proven methodology that drives adoption with measurable results. Here are some of the collaboration services we offer:

  • Workplace Productivity Solutions – Cloud-based shared workplace solutions take everyone in your organization to the next level with greater integration of web and video conferencing, telephony, instant messaging, and email. MMITC can help choose the best tools and platforms for your business, ensure your tools are cyber secure, and help increase productivity within your teams and your workplace.
  • Adoption Acceleration Services – Our collaboration tool expertise and proven methodology can bring your entire team up to speed quickly, build customer loyalty, and realize a faster ROI in your technology investment. We can help your organization achieve full adoption in 60 days.
  • Project Management – Utilize our team’s deep expertise to help you achieve the business goals of your collaboration technology projects.
  • Change Management – Right now, collaboration tools are changing at an unprecedented rate. MMITC can focus efforts to prepare, equip, and support your team members to adopt these changes.

Managed & Event Assist Services

It is becoming more and more difficult to decipher which collaboration tool on the market is the best for your business’s events and operations. And as more events are held virtually, having good tools, training, and expertise are tantamount to your business success. Meet Me In The Cloud has a range of great managed services to fulfill your needs:

  • Customer Success Services – Efficiently onboard your customers with MMITC’s comprehensive plan, clear technical requirements, product training, and ongoing customer interaction.
  • Event Assist Services – From industry conferences to executive and team meetings, MMITC’s team of professional Producers are skilled in the production of flawless online events and will ensure your next highly visible virtual event meets your business objectives.

 Meet Me In The Cloud also offers consulting services, to help drive faster adoption of your collaboration investment, and cybersecurity services, to protect all of your online and cloud-based data, email, and users safe across multiple networks, devices, and apps.

Training & Education

A tool is only as good as its user. And every business has employees who are more comfortable learning about and using online tools, and those who may require more or different training to reach full adoption. That’s why Meet Me In The Cloud offers varied and tailored solutions for your training and education needs: 

  • E-Learning Offerings – Online learning is a safe and effective way to train employees – if you know how to do it. MMITC’s e-learning courses help accelerate the adoption process of your collaboration platform by offering an interactive learning approach.
  • Live Learning Services – MMITC offers online, real-time training services.
  • Onsite Training Services – we can also come to you! Our onsite training services provide in-depth education in a familiar environment for your employees.
  • Microlearning Library – This is perfect if you have a new hire or a small number of employees who need to go over certain aspects of a collaboration tool, but who don’t need full training.
  • Train-the-Trainer Programs – We can help you prepare team members who are or will be in charge of training others.

Many of our courses are self-paced and easy to tailor to a specific employee’s skill level and background of experience. 

Achieve Your Desired Business Outcomes

Meet Me In The Cloud is now a Certified Cisco Collaboration Reseller, which means we can now offer full-circle collaboration, from purchase to adoption. To set up your Collaboration Discovery Call, please reach out to Charles Plaza at charles@meetmeinthecloud.com.

Have more questions about any of the services we talked about above? Meet Me In The Cloud wants to hear from you. Feel free to check out any of the links to our services, or contact us today to schedule a consultation!

Benefits of Multi-Platform Virtual Events

Benefits of Multi-Platform Virtual Events

We’ve talked previously about why you should move your large event online. And you know by now that virtual events have a ton of benefits. But after a year of pandemic life and the subsequent mountain of changes that every collaboration tool has implemented, more and more companies are opting to create multi-platform virtual events (as if single-platform events weren’t hard enough).

What is a Multi-Platform Event?

Many industries have been focusing on multi-platform content for the last few years. Multi-platform events are events that deliver a range of content across different platforms, “utilizing television, the Internet, mobile phones, and digital and interactive screen services,” according to Taylor & Francis Online.

In easy terms, event planners are now using more than one collaboration tool or application to either a.) host the same content and services on different tech mediums (mobile, desktop, etc), b.) use different apps, websites, and online tools to create a more diverse experience, or c.) do a bit of both.

For example, the 2021 Affordable Housing Association of Indiana’s annual spring conference is being held virtually, using Zoom and the Whova event and conference mobile app. And line dancers from all over the world have attended six (so far) Digital Dance Weekend events that are hosted on Facebook but also feature “social dancing” and demos on Youtube.

These multi-platform events allow attendees to customize and tailor their own experience to ensure they are making the most of every virtual event. They also allow you, the event organizer, to offer unique, multi-faceted resources and interactive and collaborative content with your event. Let’s talk about some of the benefits of having a multi-platform virtual event.

Reach a More Technologically Diverse Audience

So much of our lives, both personal and professional, are housed within our mobile devices – especially our cell phones. And with the world becoming more and more work-from-home-friendly, mobile devices are becoming more essential as work tools, too.

Planning multi-platform virtual events (and using collaboration tools that can do some of this work for you) means you can be inclusive to a more technologically diverse audience. If your board meeting is being held virtually, giving your attendees the ability to choose their platform preference is extremely helpful.

This also means that, for larger events, more people will be able to attend because they can tailor their experience of your event to fit in with their lifestyles and schedules.

Decrease the Time You Spend Worrying About Finding the “Perfect” Tool

Collaboration platforms like Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, and more are constantly changing to keep up with customer demand and to stay relevant to their target market. But what happens when you are planning an event and none of the collaboration tools have all the functions and capabilities you need?

Another great benefit of multi-platform virtual events is the ability to confidently choose a good, but not perfect, host platform without worrying about how platform 1 has this but not that, and platform 2 has that but not this. Instead of settling for almost perfect, you can pair top collaboration tools with top resources like industry- or function-specific apps, websites, and more

Reduce that stress by adding outside apps to your host platform (many collaboration tools are expanding these capabilities often) or by just letting your attendees know you will be pairing a collaboration tool to an unrelated app or website (as seen in the examples we mentioned above).

Increase the Level of Interactivity

With bigger events, a specific collaboration tool may possess all of the capabilities you want, but not in the form you would prefer for your event. For example, if you are hosting a large industry conference, having all videos of speakers, session descriptions, and session resources on one computer screen may be difficult for people to follow along.

Creating multiple platform availability and including apps and tools outside of the videoconferencing app you’re using can help your attendees create their own, preferred setup for interacting. Perhaps an attendee wants to collaborate with someone they met at a networking session, but they can only do that if it happens during another informative session they wanted to attend. By offering multi-platform events, your attendees can get more bang for their buck and will be less likely to miss out on important information and events.

Find Your Multi-Platform Event Service Team

Meet Me In The Cloud is the perfect partner for your next multi-platform virtual event. Check out our Event Assist Services packages, or learn more about how we help you plan and execute a virtual event that meets all your goals.

Whether you need training and education, event assistance, or other collaboration-based support and services, contact us today.

Collaboration Comes Full Circle with Our New Offering From Cisco

Collaboration Comes Full Circle with Our New Offering From Cisco

We are thrilled to announce that Meet Me In The Cloud is Now a Certified Cisco Collaboration Reseller for Messaging, Meetings, and Calling! Why is this so exciting? Because it allows us to bring our offering full circle, owning the customer relationship from the point of onboarding through usage, adoption, training, and lifecycle management.

Our focus on delivering the services we offer has always centered on our customers and the users that bring collaboration to life! With this new partnership, we can now help you – and all of our customers – with everything from technology purchase and adoption to customized training and white-glove virtual Event Management.

What MMITC as a Certified Cisco Collaboration Reseller Means for You

Partnering with Cisco as a Reseller allows Meet Me In The Cloud to connect our customers with resources and services we have never previously offered. Being a certified SaaS Reseller shows our customers we are committed to the highest standard of service while also being capable of meeting the necessary requirements to take our offerings to the next level. Ultimately, we made the decision because there are many ways we can better serve our customers as a Cisco Reseller.

The goals as defined by Cisco for this Collaboration SaaS Program are to:

  • Technology Done Right – By offering our customers the ability to purchase Cisco Collaboration Products, we now have the ability to ensure the onboarding of the technology is done right the first time.
  • Pricing Discounts – As a Cisco Certified SaaS Partner, we are able to pass on the various pricing discounts and promotional offers to our customers, providing you with more ROI.
  • Beginning to End Support – As a company founded on technology adoption and training, we are now able to assist our customers throughout their Cisco lifecycle subscription to ensure you love the technology you have invested in.
  • Maximize Productivity – Our team has a deep understanding of the Cisco Collaboration Product portfolio which allows us to help you become more productive with the work you do every day.
  • Improved Efficiency – Our team is committed to the simple task of helping our customers improve efficiencies as you leverage the technology at your workstations.
  • Right Technology – Whether at home, in the office, or a combination of both, MMITC can help you ensure the technology you leverage is working for you to help get your job done!

Take Advantage of Our New Collaboration Offering from Cisco

Meet with our team so that we can understand the business opportunities and challenges your organization is currently faced with.  We ask questions, we listen, and we focus on the culture of your organization.  We realize that your employees are vastly different in the way they approach the adoption of the technologies they leverage every day.

Please contact Charles Plaza at charles@meetmeinthecloud.com to set up your Collaboration Discovery Call!

Collaboration Tools in 2021

Collaboration Tools in 2021

Collaboration tools have changed a lot in the last year. COVID-19 may have accelerated this change, but these big moves were coming either way. It’s hard to even remember what the world looked like a year ago.  

Here is a look at collaboration tools in 2021 – from new software to integration upgrades, and more.  

Webex

Cisco is accelerating into the New Year with their unified Webex application concept and is rapidly delivering updates both through internal development and strategic acquisitions that are powering innovations like AI-powered noise cancellation, real-time closed captioning & translations, and next-level audience engagement.

Here’s a quick recap from Webex: “We kept people connected with meetings, messaging, and calling, launched new updates and features, hosted our first WebexOne event, and launched the Webex Community” The Webex Community launched in May of 2020, as a “self-service tool for our users, admins, and adoption champions.”

In 2021, Webex will be hosting three events a month: two Walkthrough Wednesdays – aimed at educating customers and professionals about the latest and greatest Webex tool updates – and one Adoption Spotlight where you’ll hear from Webex customers about their strategies and successes in driving adoption in their teams. 

The 2021 Webex goal is to give their users more “engaging, intelligent, and inclusive experiences.” Users are now able to customize the feel of their workspace with new background color palettes and the ability to tailor their video grids to meet their needs and preferences. And their new immersive share creates a professional, new-program-like experience so that presenters can be seen while also sharing graphics, charts, and other visuals at the same time.

New meeting templates, sophisticated AI-powered message prioritization, and real-time translation are also included in the new Webex software. 2021 will bring a host of new solutions and discussions spearheaded by Webex as they continue to refine and upgrade their collaboration offerings.

Zoom

2020 was the year of Zoom. Zoom’s CEO, Eric Yuan was even TIME’s 2020 Businessperson of the Year. So what are some of the leaps they made in the collaboration tool sector last year, and what do they have in store for 2021?

Zoom lists these services as some of their biggest 2020 highlights: Zoom Apps (brings apps directly into the Zoom experience), Zoom for Home (helps remote workers outfit home offices with Zoom-enabled devices), OnZoom (virtual events marketplace), Zoom 5.0 (most recent update), and End-to-End Encryption (gives users the ability to host meetings that only chosen participants have access to encryption keys used to encrypt the meeting).

According to the company’s Year in Review, “Some of our most prominent features include spotlighting and multi-pinning video feeds, co-host capabilities for managing Breakout Rooms, the ability to use slides as a virtual background, High-Fidelity Music Mode, and Filters, which give our users the freedom to create a more user-friendly, engaging meeting experience. In-meeting security controls, a new security settings section, and centralized controls allow secure meetings at scale.”

As we move through the beginning of 2021, Zoom will continue to churn out value-add upgrades and initiatives to enhance user experience.

Microsoft Teams

The Teams app from Microsoft is the fastest growing business app in the company’s history, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Microsoft Teams collaborative workspace connects all Microsoft 365 apps, creates a great hub for teams of all sizes, and can even be used as an alternative or replacement for email communications. Without leaving Teams, users can access Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other file types in real-time.

Microsoft launched Tasks this year, as a Teams-specific replacement for Planner – it combines the functions of Planner and To-Do apps. They also recently added Lists, which “combines database and spreadsheet features to manage information to plan events, track recruitment, or help onboard new employees.”

Some other 2020 additions include “Together mode” which creates a virtual shared environment (conference room, café, etc.) and crops each user’s video feed into a more realistic space. Other features like noise suppression, custom backgrounds, hand raising, and recording were introduced or enhanced this year.

In December 2020, Microsoft posted a “What’s New in Microsoft Teams” article, listing all of their recent changes that will gain momentum in 2021.

Those new features include:

  •  Virtual Breakout Rooms – allows meeting organizers to divide the meeting into smaller groups to allow for specialized discussions
  • End-of-Meeting Notifications
  • Pre-Join Experience
  • New Supported Languages – enables users to
  • translate Japanese, Korean, French, French-Canadian, Spanish, Spanish-Mexican, Traditional Chinese, Swedish, Dutch, Italian, Hindi-Indian, Portuguese-Brazilian, and Russian into up to 50 different languages
  • Multiple Number Dialing
  • Live Captions for 1:1 Calls

Collaboration Tools in 2021 – Tailored Solutions

2021 is the time to channel all the big move momentum you created in 2020 and refine it to help your business better reach and serve its customers. Explore Meet Me In The Cloud’s managed services and collaboration services.

Whether you need training and education, event assistance, or other collaboration-based support and services, contact us today.

Making the Most of Slack: Best Practices

Making the Most of Slack: Best Practices

Like any collaboration tool, Slack has unique advantages and disadvantages when compared to other tools like Microsoft Teams or Webex. But a collaboration tool is only as good as its user. Here are some best practices and tips that can crank your Slack game – and productivity – up a notch.

Broadcast Your Availability and Expectations

Just because you are using Slack’s chat abilities for work doesn’t mean you have to exclude all traces of who you are and how you work.

Make sure your profile is complete with your information: name, professional title, phone number, and other non-Slack contact information if applicable.

Another best practice is to let people know when you’re online. Fill in the hours you expect to work, and be sure to update this when things come up or change, like personal emergencies or time off. This helps manage your colleagues’ and employees’ expectations for when you will be available to respond to queries and issues.

You can also use your Status for more than introductions and other static items. Use this area to post updates on team activity, sick days, and vacation time as well.

Threads and Channel Management

Channels and threads can be used in a myriad of ways to organize and archive important conversations, upcoming tasks, and more.

Pay attention to channel headers. Hopefully, the headers provide succinct and informative descriptions, with any action items, to steer other users to the correct channels when they are using the platform themselves.

You can also start a thread to keep your channel more organized while exploring specific conversations or topics within Slack.

Don’t Forget About Flags and Reminders

To keep track of action items, another Slack best practice is to click on the star to flag items that you may want to come back to later or things you need to complete and then report on later.

If you are in the middle of something important and you’re checking other threads, don’t fret – you can use Slack to set reminders so you can come back later and address an issue of you are too busy at the moment.

Remember the Golden Rule(s)

One common issue that is found in all chat-based collaboration tools, is miscommunication caused by the text-only exchanges. Which means you must do two things. The first is to temper all of your messages with a kind and unassuming tone. If there are questionable phrases that could be misconstrued by your team members, rewrite or remove them. And make sure to give your team members the benefit of the doubt when reading their messages. Frustration and confusion can be misinterpreted and feel aggressive or combative, but escalating the situation will only lead you further from your goal.

And if you have issues or are unsure which thread or channel a specific message should go in, don’t be afraid to ask! Check out this article from the RescueTime blog for some quick tips.

Need Help With Training or Implementation?

Need help organizing or educating your global team? Meet Me In The Cloud is your go-to resource for white glove training and support for collaboration services and tools.

Whether you need training and education, event assist, or other collaboration-based support and service, contact us today.

Handling Post-COVID Collaboration Tool Issues

Handling Post-COVID Collaboration Tool Issues

You think your collaboration environment is set, but is it? With new collaboration tools and remote work protocols, increasing utilization and identifying hidden issues that prevent full efficiency is your next challenge. Meet Me In The Cloud can help.

The Struggle of Moving Forward Post-COVID

2020 is a year no business could plan for. At the start of the year, you likely had evaluated meetings and team collaboration tools for use in your business operations. Then the pandemic hit in March and your organization rushed to get the necessary tools and functionality out to all your users so they could work from home in a matter of days.

That was 6 months ago. You’ve resolved the connectivity and bandwidth issues, the VPN overload problems, and you’ve (sort of) figured out the “who is watching/teaching the kids” schedule. These“temporary” measures are here to stay for the foreseeable future.

In a study done by Slack, new and experienced remote workers were surveyed about the impact this new remote landscape has had on their work. 

Two big trends emerged: 

  1. Those who are new to remote work are struggling to regain their previous levels of productivity and communication.
  2. Collaboration tools can help alleviate these issues and additionally curb feelings of isolation, loneliness, and disconnection during this time

We’ve made it through the rush and things are settling into a new normal, but now it’s time to help your employees increase their utilization of collaboration software (Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, etc.). How do you get them to start using all the bells and whistles that come with these new tools?

The Second Wave of User Frustration

We are still working remotely and will be in the foreseeable future.  Last spring, you rushed employees through basic tools if they were lucky. If they weren’t lucky, you handed them the tools, everyone set up their home offices and you and your staff buckled down and tried to muddle through these new communication channels on your own, without any guidance or support.

But now that the proverbial dust has settled a bit, the previously ignored issues are bubbling to the surface. Your staff members start telling you they are tired of online meetings all day. They still have issues with sound, using (or not using) headsets, adjusting the webcam to just the right angle, finding a quiet place to work, knowing how to share various content files (videos, slides, and whiteboards).  They muddle along but you know and they know: there must be a better way.

There is only so much Googling and Q&A searching you can do when it comes to working out the kinks of your and your employees’ individual pitfalls within these collaboration platforms. And flooding the IT department with small requests or spending hours in video conferences trying to troubleshoot each problem is a waste of time and valuable resources.

How About An Easy Fix?

Have you thought there may be an organization dedicated to helping people collaborate online effectively? Or a team that will address each individual user and their specific issues or skill gaps?

Consider a free, informal consultative discussion with Meet Me In The Cloud, a company dedicated to finding and removing these obstacles to increased tool utilization and improved employee efficiency and ultimately employee satisfaction.  It might even reduce your support calls to the help desk!

Meet Me In The Cloud is a global leader in adoption services and scalable solutions that help organizations compete, grow, and succeed with collaboration tools. Questions? Contact us today.

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