Sam Claus, Account Manager, avsnet

Over my many years of selling technology solutions, Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) has taken a front seat in the many opportunities I have worked on. However, after all these years, many people still ask me the same question: “What does Unified Communications and Collaboration really mean?”

I’ll save you the effort of searching the internet first. Gartner defines it to be:

“The combination of communications and collaboration technologies.”

Yes, that is vague and yes, technology does play a major part, however in my experience, collaboration transcends the boundaries of the traditional technology features and benefits conversation…

“With Skype for Business you can have…”, “Cisco Jabber enables you to….”, “Avaya’s contact centre is….” and so on and so forth.

What many vendors, partners and even IT leaders struggle to understand is that collaboration means different things to different people…

For that reason, the introduction of such technologies needs to be embraced at a senior level, involving all key stakeholders to help create a strategic approach for the organisation.

Furthermore, central to any strategy is a clearly defined goal, something that the organisation wants or needs to achieve.

Cisco hit the nail on the head back in 2013 when the company highlighted that creating speed and flexibility within a business are the most important challenges, in terms of differentiating from your competition. Every organisation, no matter what vertical sector, is having to face similar challenges primarily driven by three factors:

  1. Increased competition
  2. The need to focus on core competencies and partners to fill skills gaps
  3. The internet, open systems and automation have changed the way in which we communicate

People want to do business in a more interactive manner and in a social media format.

So, how can an organisation address these factors?

One way is through effective collaboration. Collaboration is as much a belief or a vision as it is a technological ecosystem, but it can enable an organisation to adapt to fast changing market trends and pressures.

When teams are working smarter and more effectively, collaboration can also help an organisation significantly reduce response and resolution times, in a multitude of scenarios and circumstances; all delivering business benefits.

What encourages teams to work smarter?

For collaboration to succeed, a workforce needs to have a culture of openness, flexibility and above all else a commitment to achieving the same goals.

Without these, there is little trust and without trust, human nature dictates that employees will be less inclined to share information and work together regularly. By encouraging this openness and adopting a culture of shared goals, employees are empowered to tap into the specialised knowledge and skill sets available in other parts of the business, not to mention utilising external partnerships.

Now, let’s think about how this applies to the organisation you work for…

I am sure there are some people who will categorically want to keep information as close to their chest as possible. Without incentivising them and creating a reason for them to embrace shared goals, how can you get them to collaborate, irrespective of whether your business utilises applications from Cisco, Polycom or others?

An Insider’s Tip

Take the time to step away from the features and benefits of what different vendors can provide. Instead, look further into how your business operates, what processes are in place and how they can be improved.

  • Ultimately is there a structure and are there processes in place to support whatever collaboration tools you have or may decide to adopt?
  • Does your business empower your employees to share?

That is what will create innovation, make you more agile and quite frankly what will differentiate you from competitors. The technology is just the enabler and a small, albeit very important, part of the jigsaw.

So next steps?

If you are at the beginning of your collaboration journey or even part way through, it’s an excellent time to further explore what you can do.

We can help you as part of that journey. We provide a strategic, consultative and specialised service to demonstrate how collaboration can help you reach your business objectives. Whether it be increasing revenue, raising your competitive advantage or enhancing your customer relationships, now is the time to start your journey towards a more collaborative workplace.

Contact me today to begin.

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