Where are all the efficiency benefits you thought you’d see when you bought your collaboration software?
The consumerisation of IT through smartphones, instant messaging, video conferencing and much more has led to a huge shift in the way people communicate with each other. This in turn has driven a change in business communication tools, as the modern workforce demands their business space become an extension of their personal life.
Gone are the days of email and phone calls, says Sahil Rekhi, EMEA MD of RingCentral, replaced in many businesses by collaboration and cloud-based services. Organisations were told that buying these tools would drive efficiency and innovation through instant chat, file sharing and more. So why is it then, that some companies still haven’t really seen any of the benefits, aside from cost savings?
From our work in the sector, we are regularly asked this question. Customers may have read an article about the benefits of collaboration or unified communications, which has led to the purchase of a fancy new piece of software for their tech-savvy workforce to use.
A few training sessions from their vendor later and they understandably want to start seeing all of their employees transform into a completely collaborative collective, producing the kind of innovative work that couldn’t possibly have been achieved with emails and shouting across the office.
If you go into the acquisition of any communication service expecting the technology to instantly transform the way your colleagues interact with each other, then you’re setting yourself up to be disappointed. Unlike other procurement processes, choosing the right tool should not be your biggest focus. Instead, managing the adoption and implementing the changes in how your team works together is the only way you can achieve the efficiency and innovation increases that you read on your tech vendor’s website.
Every business is different and you need to know what your own needs and limitations are. It’s important to research your IT estate before you do anything; knowing exactly what you can and cannot change, as well as factoring in processes that are ingrained in the company culture.
Thinking about where the potential pain points for your colleagues are the key thing to consider here. If you are going to introduce software which is meant to change the way in which they work, it’s better to focus on areas that are likely to be met with apathy. For example, many companies look to completely replace internal email with instant messaging tools. While it’s unlikely your staff will care if you do this for work approval, you will come up against some resistance if your HR process currently requires email verification for their annual leave.
Once you understand what collaboration features will be accepted by your employees, it then becomes important to plan for what a successful implementation looks like. Setting goals and KPIs related to the usage and capabilities of your new communications system will allow you to see how it is performing. The ability to flag any issues or features which haven’t been used will give you the opportunity to know when and where you need to provide training on using the software.
Above all else, you need to be patient and realise that this adoption doesn’t happen overnight. While technology now allows you to quickly migrate to a new system or instantly go live with a new feature, the time it takes for your colleagues to understand and use it is much longer. Even millennials take time to become aware of how the same kind of software they use subconsciously in their personal lives can make their jobs easier.
When replacing a legacy communications infrastructure with a new cloud-powered unified communications solution, businesses of all sizes need to know how staff are going to adopt it into their day-to-day working life. When you’ve got a good strategy for how you are going to get everybody using the new system, you’ll soon start to see all of the efficiency and collaborations you read on the box.
The author of this blog is Sahil Rekhi, EMEA MD of RingCentral
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