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Teams assists in enabling conservation efforts

Teams assists in enabling conservation efforts

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Good collaboration and communication are key for all organisations, but for those operating in more rural locations this can be challenging to achieve. But modern technology is helping to close these gaps. Peace Parks Foundation, a leader in transfrontier conservation across southern Africa, is one such example. The organisation is now using Microsoft Teams to improve the communication of ideas and events to field staff members, resulting in more collaboration across the organisation.

Peace Parks Foundation, a leader in transfrontier conservation across southern Africa, is now using Microsoft Teams to communicate internally as well as with its many resources situated in remote locations across the globe.

Peace Parks is transforming the way in which conservation has historically been managed by using technology to accelerate and augment traditional conservation work. The solution deployed by Argantic has allowed Peace Parks to start standardising its communications strategy and provides the perfect platform for better first line support.

There was a host of different solutions and applications prior to Teams and it was extremely difficult to manage the environment. With Teams, Peace Parks no longer has to deal with disparate systems and can create standard deployment images for all new PCs.

Peace Parks’ ICT Systems Engineer, Jeanine van Eyssen, said the challenge was to have a single integrated means to communicate not only with video but also voice and chat.

She said: “We also required a repository for project documentation.”

Argantic Director Garry Ackerman said Microsoft Teams is the hub for team collaboration in Microsoft 365 that integrates the people, content and tools teams need to be more engaged and effective.

Van Eyssen said one of the key benefits of Microsoft Teams is that it is a single integrated cloud-based communications platform.

She said: “It enables all our head office staff to operate as if we were sitting in the office. We can also make and receive calls to and from suppliers through this business system easily, whereas before we implemented Teams Voice, staff had to use private phones to make calls and go through the pain of claiming back call costs.

“Everything went smoothly – this was a well-managed and implemented project and all deadlines were met. Argantic performed above expectation, they also provided adequate training and post go live support.”

Argantic aims to help organisations thrive and reach their full potential in a modern cloud-centric era. The company was founded nine years ago with the aim to focus on delivering software and infrastructure services to the corporate and enterprise business market.

Argantic was founded by two ambitious South Africans with a simple promise – to make a difference. This has resulted in the formation of a company staffed with a highly successful business and technical skills that focused on delivering software and infrastructure services to the corporate and enterprise business market.

Intelligent SME.tech spoke to Peace Parks’ ICT Systems Engineer, Jeanine van Eyssen, to find out more about the implementation and the role of technology in supporting the organisation.

What made you realise there was a need to combine technology and conservation? 

In the same way technology underpins a normal commercial organisation, the use of technology enables Peace Parks to operate more efficiently and effectively, allowing us to focus on our conservation efforts.

Can you give an example of when technology has aided the conservation of cultural and natural heritage?   

The introduction of Teams has allowed us to communicate with our remote field staff more effectively. The use of video calls has also allowed the organisation to still work collaboratively, despite lockdowns and having to practice social distancing.

How important is technology to the future of conservation? 

Technology is a force multiplier; more can be done with the same or fewer resources.

Before the implementation of Teams, why was it extremely difficult to manage the environment and what challenges were you experiencing? 

Peace Parks works in remote areas where in some cases little or no mobile connectivity is available. The use of Teams has allowed for staff stationed in those areas to now be included in critical meetings and become part of important decision-making processes. Communicating ideas and events to these field staff members have also vastly improved, resulting in more collaboration across the organisation.  

Why did Peace Parks choose to work with Argantic? 

The decision was based on the level of professionalism and a sense that Argantic understood and appreciated Peace Parks’ values and vision.

How has the solution enabled your team to scale? 

The solution has not necessarily resulted in teams scaling up, but it has allowed for greater collaboration between Peace Parks staff, both from head office and in the field.

What would contribute to the growing success of technology in the conservation and heritage sector? 

The ability to deploy Teams chat and email to devices where bandwidth is low; there are still many areas in Africa where EDGE and/or 2G are the signals available.

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