In my experience, the common communication challenges business face are threefold:
Making information accessible to users whenever and wherever they needed it;
Easily organising meetings both formally and informally;
Making the organisation more agile by shortening the time from discussions to decisions
In theory, technologies used everyday in communication with family and friends (such as Facebook, Google+, Skype, Facetime, SMS, etc) should make the adoption of this technology straight forward and obvious in the business context. However in reality, there are complex inhibitors to the successful implementation of communications technologies. Challenges are inclusive of (but not limited to):
Complex business processes;
Integration with business applications
Top tips to facilitate these challenges.
Companies need to understand how different departments and disciplines currently collaborate. Important considerations are:
Knowing when and for what reason teams schedule meetings, share documents and make decisions;
Understanding what happens if these processes fail;
Quantifying the cost to the business if teams are unable to make a decision on time
A sensible and pragmatic approach, that ensures buy-in from the users, is to organise workshops and develop scenarios to identify roadblocks in your organisation. Here are some example questions to think through:
What are the logistical constraints to collaboration (for example, different time zones and geographies), and how can the technology help address these?
What is the extent of ad-hoc emails and meetings? And, how is subsequent information captured, collated and made available to stakeholders?
What information is required to make decisions, what reports from what applications, and which document repositories are used?
Where to from here - things to keep in mind.
People need to be taken on the journey to understand how these technologies can be used in their environment. It is not a build it and they will use it solution.
Unified communications and collaboration (UC&C), involves integrating the enabling technologies with the company's culture, business processes and structures.
Ultimately, IT Departments must gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and work with their vendors to position unified communications technologies as part of their everyday working life. This involves aligning with company culture, boosting information sharing and access, refining business procedures and making everyone aware of the possibilities in today's collaboration and communications environment.
What's happening in your organisation?
I'd love to hear about what's happening in your organisation: the successes, the speed bumps and the awareness of how culture, business processes and organisation structures are factored into your unified communication and collaboration rollout strategy.
What discussions are happening about information sharing and communications in your organisation?
What ideas do your end users come to you with to move faster from discussion to decision?
By Chris Kennett, Optus Business Industry Manager. More from Chris on Twitter: @ChrisRKennett