Most businesses know that change is inevitable. Sooner or later, a product line has to change or a go-to-market strategy must be modified. Even the way we work together changes over time. If the wave of millenials entering the workforce has taught us anything, it’s the advantages of collaboration that include boosting morale, increasing creativity and stemming employee attrition.
Today, more businesses are thinking about collaboration at work and how to foster that amongst their employees, suppliers and customers. While the idea of the next collaboration revolution is attractive, most businesses are concerned about diverting time from core activities in order to implement, train and support a collaboration system. In general, they want to consume a service, not own that service. That’s a real change from how things have been done in the past.
Consuming services means businesses are opting for an expense model versus a capital model. They are not relying on buying upfront hardware and software, they are looking to take a monthly expense by outsourcing their collaboration services. In our Netflix-minded economy where we are able to purchase services on-demand as we need them, this mindset is not surprising.
What's driving the change in how the enterprise collaboration system is looked at is the huge push to the cloud. While every organization has their own unique set of needs like persistent meeting rooms, document management and team workflow organization, many businesses are still wondering what the cloud means to them in general and specifically with regard to collaboration. With so many solution choices and providers, the market is saturated with collaboration at work options. Additionally, even when a solution is selected, companies are struggling to standardize that solution throughout their organization.
Fortunately, there are some trends that are helping with this and changing our attitudes on collaboration for both intra- and inter-company communications. For instance, voice and video are now used fairly interchangeably. This means that you don’t have to buy a separate video system anymore and run it outside of your voice system. Rather one platform, with all of your inputs registered to that one platform, is making things easier for companies to set their own collaboration standards.
Despite all the opportunity for integrating cloud into a businesses collaboration suite, the fact is that most businesses are still really comfortable with the status quo. And, that's where they get stuck between what's familiar and what the future holds. A good business partner can help a business get over the hump between tried and true and what’s new. The right partner will get to know your business and through audits and other studies, help your organization to find a just right fit.
As early as 2012, McKinsey was predicting that, “Companies that have a high proportion of interaction workers can realize tremendous productivity improvements through faster internal communication and smoother collaboration.” Organizations that adopt a collaboration solution that's right for their business will begin to see unprecedented returns on their investments – both monetarily and in the efficiency with how their business units connect with each other, with customers and with suppliers.