In order to stay competitive in any field, you have to keep up with emerging technologies. With the rise of cloud-based services, many industry standards are being challenged by disruptive solutions. On top of that, team members are increasingly demanding new tech functionality based on articles they read or recommendations from friends at other companies.
IT has always been a department reigned by the caution that comes from experiencing the effects of a major outage. Poorly chosen or hastily implemented solutions can lead to months of headaches and disruptions. To keep pace with the contemporary environment, leaders have to be proactive in identifying new solutions that may benefit employee productivity to stay ahead of the curve.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in unified communications. Over the last five years, many companies have switched to new solutions to help boost employee efficiency and collaboration. When IT doesn’t take the lead in implementing unified communications, they risk losing top-down control of the overall infrastructure.
Individual departments, frustrated by IT’s unresponsiveness to their needs, may resort to using cloud-based tools outside of IT’s control. Sales might turn to a new app to share documents with leads, while marketing may use a third-party app to manage and coordinate their latest initiative.
All of this creates disorganization and can significantly diminish interoperability. The key point is: if you don’t have a plan for commonly disrupted areas like unified communication, then you are behind the curve, which hurts both IT and an organization as a whole. Departments can become siloed by the use of incompatible tools; efficiency can decline; and business performance can suffer.
Aligning Business Goals with the Right Technology
IT and operations leaders should develop a strategy for coping effectively with the rapid pace of technological change. It’s no longer enough to wait for software updates from current vendors, hoping to eventually receive more advanced capabilities. Businesses must assess where they currently stand, looking at weakness in areas such as collaboration and communication.
While examining what competitors are doing, organizations should try to determine which solutions are necessary to stay competitive well into the future, and which are just fads. The key is to match current business goals with the most efficient technology. This often involves mapping out core processes in each department and determining where shortfalls are occurring.
At the same time, IT leaders should pay attention to new and updated communication tools, trying to determine which could most effectively fix as many problems as possible. For example, if an organization takes too long to make decisions and has poor coordination on projects, its leaders should look for a unified communications system that supports real-time collaboration and the ability to get decision-makers together quickly, regardless of where they are physically located. The particular solution depends on which organizational weaknesses need to be addressed.
Technology Drives Change in Unanticipated Ways
New tools and processes can often lead to shifts in how business is conducted. Simply solving existing problems at your business is not enough. You must understand the future potential of tools you’re considering adding to your infrastructure.
In some cases, more advanced unified communication tools may enable new possibilities at your organization, including more remote staff, more complex projects on tighter deadlines, or the ability to open up a new office in a faraway location. Efficiency gains from real-time collaboration may even be able to lead to business evolution or expansion in ways not currently anticipated. This is why it’s important to know exactly what’s out there: the features, the potential use cases, and how it all relates to your organization.
Lack Of Unified Communication Is Worth Losing Sleep Over
Business should be particularly scared about the future of unified communications. The rise of collaboration tools like Slack or Cisco Spark has led to changes in how people perceive what is normal professional communication. It has not only knocked email off its perch as the go-to channel for internal communications, it has created new standards of employee interaction.
If new employees come into your organization from environments with this new kind of culture, they may feel out of place if a similar method of collaboration is no longer at their disposal. They will ultimately feel less integrated into your culture. As such, failure to adapt to new standards can be a significant competitive disadvantage not just with internal efficiency, but also with attracting and retaining top talent.
Although it may seem that organizations are just chasing trends when adapting these new unified communication tools, their pervasiveness has gone past the point of no return. Companies can gain the upper hand by choosing wisely in adopting unified communication solutions. The best option will likely have a strong infrastructure behind it and ability to add more advanced features down the line. It’s even better if the technology integrates nicely with your current operations in order to avoid problems from a migration.
Continually assessing your organization and staying aware of emerging best solutions are the two pillars of proactive technology management. In many cases, it’s beneficial for organizations to gain some perspective by bringing in outside help. Experts in collaboration tools and unified communication can help both with the assessment process and the choice of a new or updated solution. This is especially useful for organizations that feel behind the curve. By taking the initiative, your business no longer needs to be scared about what the future of unified communications brings. Instead, you can see it as a way to increase efficiency and give your organization a competitive advantage.
Need to speak with an expert in collaboration tools and unified communication? Contact ShoreGroup today for a free assessment.