Harnessing the power of connection: How Exclaimer leverages Microsoft technology to transform collaboration
With remote and now hybrid working the norm, organizations rely more than ever on online collaboration and communication platforms. That’s why Exclaimer is announcing a new collaboration with Microsoft technology aimed at enhancing productivity and turning email into a more collaborative channel. Thanks to a unique integration with the online scheduling application Microsoft Bookings, our customers can now add booking links directly into their email signatures. No matter the size of the company, administrators can set rules to automatically apply booking links to designated users.
We recently sat down with Michael Gillett, Senior Partner Technology Strategy Manager at Microsoft to chat about the benefits of this new integration. Overseeing partner technology strategists and cloud solution architects in the UK services space and the Microsoft ISV team, Michael’s role involves understanding upcoming trends (AI and automation are of particular interest to him), meeting customer and partner needs, and ensuring Microsoft’s products meet the needs of modern business.
He chatted to us about the impact remote and hybrid working has had on collaboration, how Microsoft is addressing barriers to productivity with Microsoft Bookings, and how our integration revolutionizes the meeting scheduling process.
Accelerating technological adoption
The business changes caused by the COVID 19 pandemic were both unprecedented and rapid. Companies suddenly needed to make huge infrastructure and solution investments so their employees could work from home.
Michael explains what this change meant to Microsoft:
“The pandemic saw technical adoption across the board massively accelerate. For example, we saw an explosion in Microsoft Teams usage. But as the threat of the pandemic receded, that remote, and then hybrid, mindset remained for many businesses. The demand for flexible hours increased. The 9-5 way of working was no longer suitable for everyone.
“So, companies still needed reliable platforms for remote collaboration, something which Microsoft excels at.”
The impact of meetings in a hybrid world
With flexible working blurring the lines between professional and personal life, employees want greater control over their schedules. Time must be rigorously scheduled to let that all-important collaboration take place.
But employees are having to deal with an ever-increasing number of meetings. According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, overlapping meetings have increased by 46%, with users being flooded with meeting invites. And that’s not to mention the fact that actually booking meetings with those outside of your organization is a productivity killer.
Michael discusses the difficulties around scheduling meetings with external recipients and the overall time impact:
“The main problem with booking meetings with external people, as I see it, is that you can’t see the other person’s calendar and when they’re free. So, you have to send over a list of times when you’re available, maybe book placeholders in your calendar to block out your time, find out when the other party’s free, and then play "calendar tennis" as you bounce messages back-and forth until you find a time that works for everyone.
“So, you’re probably looking at about a couple of hours a week just booking meetings. That’s time better spent doing the job, or actually taking part in meetings. This is what led Microsoft to develop solutions like Microsoft Bookings.”
Simplifying the meeting booking process
Microsoft Bookings lets users create personalized booking pages for sharing with external stakeholders. Anyone can easily see when you’re available and then schedule in a meeting. It also integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Teams, synchronizing with a user’s calendar to provide real-time availability.
Michael explains how Microsoft Bookings offers a more efficient approach to online collaboration:
“Coordinating schedules with people outside of your organization is tough. So, we all want to be able to book meetings without having to spend ages actually booking meetings.
“So, what Microsoft Bookings does really well is present meeting-time recommendations and eliminates manual processes like sending back-and-forth messages. It just streamlines the whole process, taking all the manual effort out of scheduling meetings.
“And by making it easier to book meetings, people can spend more time actually collaborating and being productive. And I think this is a much more efficient and impactful way of working.”
Aligning with Microsoft's vision for productivity
While Microsoft Bookings makes it easy to find and book time with someone, it does rely on a booking link always being available. This often means sending the link over email. So, there’s still room to make this process more efficient. And one of the best ways to make scheduling meetings even easier is by including a booking link within an email signature.
Michael discusses why bringing together meeting links and email signatures is so compelling:
“I love the idea of booking links in email signatures because it lets someone know how to book time with me in the easiest way possible. After all, emails are the way so many businesses work and is the go-to channel for corporate communications.
“Putting the meeting link in your signature puts it front and center of every email. And people remember it’s there once they see it. It’s a win-win for everyone and keeps everything more efficient.
“And this Exclaimer integration provides an innovative way to optimize the meeting scheduling process. In fact, no other email signature vendor offers the level of integration that Exclaimer does with Microsoft Bookings, which I think is great.”
A significant leap forward for meeting scheduling
By marrying meeting links with professional email signatures, companies of all sizes can make the process of booking meetings more streamlined and automated.
Michael gives his final thoughts:
“Microsoft fundamentally understands how organizations work. There’s a reason why we’re so trusted. We know what the challenges are and where there are opportunities for new innovation. And streamlining productivity is something organizations of all sizes are looking to do.
“So, working with partners like Exclaimer means we can continue to drive transformative changes in the business productivity sphere. Having your meeting link live within your signature in Outlook just makes scheduling more efficient. And it’s amazing what this can do for optimizing efficiency and improving collaboration.”
Try the combination of Microsoft Bookings and Exclaimer for yourself
Current Exclaimer customers can access the Microsoft Bookings element within the signature designer.