Good grief, things are getting tricky.
The draft of my presentation still isn’t going across well. My line about the IT department being fuelled by integrated Gin and Tonic solutions didn’t go down well with Amanda from Marketing. And the observation that my voice is often encrypted by a ‘containerised’ intake of Heineken, rendering it incomprehensible to any eavesdropping North Korean government agent or cyber fraudster, didn’t seem to please Colin from Compliance either. To save time, they’ve asked me to have an online meeting. Then, we can all be on the same page and talk it through in a conference call. To spare my feelings, Amanda says, any criticism of my work (criticism!?) could be sent to me in private on an instant message. Then we could get the job done in one go. I adopt my usual delaying tactic on this one. I adopt the persona of Fred, the friendly helper. “That sounds like a brilliant idea,” I say, “and I really would like to help. But how am I going to be able to type out the messages to you, while holding the phone to my ear. I don’t think it’s going to work, do you?”
That’s what I love about plain old telephony systems (or POTS as we technology experts call them). They always give us plenty of excuses.
But then Amanda comes back with a zinger. “I’m no expert, unlike you, but isn’t all this quite easy to set up with Microsoft Office 365,” she says, “it’s some kind of cloud computing thing. I mean you’re really clever, perhaps you might be able to explain it to me?”
She’s pretending to be uninformed, while asking me expert questions that dismantle my credibility. Students of American TV detective Lieutenant Columbo, the fictional cop for the Los Angeles Polce Department, will be familiar with this technique. The seemingly mild mannered, unassuming inquisitor who is actually a ruthlessly effective detective. She makes me nervous this Amanda. I have to quell a rising sense of panic, otherwise I might break emotional ranks and shout, “You ain’t got nothing on me, copper.” The thing is, it sounds like she has. She seems to have been browsing the remarkably readable briefings on the Office 365 Enterprise web site.
Soon she is outlining all kinds of possibilities at me.
“By the way, I think you’re terrific,” says Amanda, still channeling Columbo’s technique for creating a false sense of security, “so I guess you’d know that with Office 365 you can install Office on all kinds of devices. We could have a five way meeting on tablets, PCs, Macs or even our phones,” she says, before delivering the final blow, “is that right?”
Yes, I say, that’s right. That’s exactly what I was intending to do.
That’s terrific, says Amanda. Then, just when I think the torture is over and I can escape from this trial by conference, Colin joins in.
“Oh and one last question,” he says, “is it true that we can do PSTN conferencing? PSTN is telephony right? That means we can use Skype for business to allow people to join an online meeting, even when there is no internet access?”
The game is up. He seems to know more than he is letting on. Yes, I say, I’ll look into it.
As soon as the conference is over, I’m on the Office 365 Enterprise web site. It seems quite enjoyable and informative, until I read a chapter heading that would chill Jim the telecoms man to the bone. “Modern Voice with Cloud PBX.” I think the days of my Jim persona may be over.
Say hello to Olly, the Office 365 man.