Steve Holmes, Services Director, avsnet

Anyone who has ever installed a collaboration solution knows all too well that user experience is a major determining factor of return on investment. It can be the difference between business success or expensive failure

This is because in the past when organisations made their technology choices they were stuck with them irrespective of whether users benefited long-term. However, is this still the case?

Now, thanks to the freedom of ‘as-as-Service’ solutions and advances in networking technology, companies can easily and precisely define the collaboration experiences their people actually want and adapt as their workforce grows.

With ‘as-a-Service’ opening the door to easier collaboration for businesses of all sizes, one question does remain – “What about my existing estate?”

The good news is that today, you don’t have to throw the baby out with the bath water, you can have the best of both worlds. Integration between existing systems and new cloud services allows you to leverage every penny of investment you’ve made AND realise all the benefits collaboration can today deliver to your business from new ‘as-a-Service’ solutions.

So, the question you should be asking should be more like…  “How can I improve user satisfaction to increase productivity.”

As a collaboration buyer, you no longer need to focus on specific equipment or solutions, instead you can now invest directly in business outcomes.

These desired outcomes often change rapidly, so it’s important that your collaboration solution can evolve in line with your business and your market’s requirements. This is exactly what ‘as-a-Service’ enables.

Many companies will have already invested heavily in collaboration, but for the reasons mentioned above, existing tools sometimes no longer meet every user need.

We meet customers like this all the time. They recognise they need to augment existing collaboration investments with new ‘as-a-Service’ solutions to develop a more fluid collaboration ecosystem, but naturally they are wary of cost and the disruptive impact new services might have.

This is rarely the case though, thanks to the flexibility offered by managed services. It is also where as-a-Service really comes into its own, as Northumbrian Water Group (NWG) found.

The water utilities company, which has multiple locations and employs 3,200 people, had been using Microsoft Skype for Business as its unified communications platform. However, when it became clear that there was still a gap connecting to legacy conferencing systems, and a need for remote workers to communicate via video in meeting rooms, NWG turned to us for help.

By recommending a simple cloud-based solution, StarLeaf, which works directly with Skype for Business, NWG could dramatically improve productivity and see high levels of user adoption from the point of implementation, as Christopher Wrightson at NWG explains: “We spend 30,000 minutes a month in StarLeaf video calls, and I can only see this usage growing.”

NWG is a great example of how existing collaboration solutions can be enhanced through ‘as-a-Service’. It also shows how the power and simplicity of the cloud can dramatically raise productivity, bring a workforce closer together and unburden your people from the daily management headaches they face. Diploma PLC is another compelling case study showing these outcomes.

If you would like to find out more on how you can achieve the same results for your business, contact me. We’d be happy to explain how you can keep your existing collaboration investments and maximise their value to your business.

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