Graham Fry, Managing Director, avsnet

Like a brand, you have a collaboration strategy, whether you realise it or not. This means you have the choice to maximise its value to your business – or not!

Also like a brand, it must be nurtured, developed and ultimately used to give your business competitive advantage…

…but how do you do this?              

Let’s start with what constitutes unbeatable collaboration.

Collaboration is any solution that increases team performance and delivers tangible business outcomes. It ranges from a single application like email, up to a global ecosystem consisting of different platforms, cloud services, hosted applications and management policies.

An effective collaboration estate requires best-in-class technologies, flexible services and professional talent to work together in harmony, and when they do, truly measurable business value can be realised.

BUT… most companies fall woefully short of realising all the business benefits collaboration can provide.

Mastering collaboration and delivering a seamless user experience, day in, day out, requires deep technical knowledge, and a holistic understanding of every component with everything integrated and conducive to business growth.

Take the network for starters. Availability is a must, particularly for remote workers, so the network must be rock-solid. Intensive applications such as video not only have to be enabled but they should never negatively impact other essential business applications.

Establishing a robust network sits at the core of any collaboration strategy.

Then there are your applications, which if connected to the Internet (and nearly all are…), can present a security risk. Remote access opens doors in the corporate network that are all too easy for cyber criminals to enter.

Network security should extend to every end-point, zero-trust access strategies need to be considered, and most importantly, employees must understand the role they play in maintaining security when they share data through collaboration solutions.

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Thinking Beyond the Walls

There’s little doubt that business collaboration is enhanced by the availability of cloud services, delivered from beyond the potentially safe boundary of your business. But with Cloud, collaboration capabilities that were once prohibitively expensive and complex to manage are now available to all businesses and can be scaled across an international workforce quickly and cost-effectively.

Take Unified Communications (UC) as an example. Companies can access and evaluate UC ‘as-a-service’ (UCaaS) applications without any impact on their core infrastructure and with no costly IT hardware maintenance. Selecting from the extensive menu of solutions available means setting clear business criteria, including ease of use, availability of training, and interoperability.

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But what’s the most important component of an effective collaboration estate?

Mastering your collaboration estate is about nurturing and supporting a workforce. This equates to a straightforward approach, one that avoids overloading users and focuses on intuitive solutions and workflows that encourage rather than complicate the user experience.

Organisations are increasingly asking employees to help with weighing up the relative benefits of one service over another, further nurturing a collaborative approach.

Your people are the guardians of your collaboration estate and critical to success.

Finally, companies need to be flexible. Collaboration is influenced by the people who are using it on a daily basis. Its success is dependent on listening, learning and adapting, and any company that is prepared to evolve its collaboration estate in line with business growth will succeed far faster than its competitors…

So master your collaboration estate today!

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