The need for a successful Unified Communication and Collaboration strategy is greater than ever.
We’re all tired about hearing about the pandemic, day in and day out. But, while it has caused untold devastation, it hasn’t been all bad. The impact of the pandemic is that it has called into question all the ways that we build bridges: between individuals and between communities, in person and across time and space.
Trends that have been a long time coming were hyper-accelerated by a unique set of challenges but, at the end of the day, an organisation needs effective and efficient bridges – pandemic or not. Essentially, the creation of these bridges and their integration into a beating ecosystem is the primary focus of a successful Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) strategy.
UC&C is not a single tool or product, but a collection of solutions, which need to be implemented to ensure that an organisation’s technology works together, smoothly and securely, for near real-time collaboration. It combines various communication tools – like voice and video conferencing, instant messaging, whiteboarding or desktop sharing – to interact in a virtually seamless way.
Wherever a workforce may be – across different floors or different continents – a UC&C ecosystem enables colleagues (and of course, suppliers and clients) to “be in the same room” and hash an issue out to resolution.
Because no two corporate communities are alike, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, and systems can take different shapes and sizes. But the starting place looks similar regardless: understand the scope (the number of people you need to service and the formats/tools they need) and go in with a list of non-negotiables.
Start with this end in mind, fully understanding your organisational needs, and then – if possible – engage a technology partner that you can trust to guide you tactically to meet those needs.
Modern ways of working – globalised and hybridised – also add their universal demands: ease of use and simplicity is paramount for uptake and sustainability (unintuitive or cumbersome user experiences limit user adoption, crippling return on investment). A robust mobile experience is key to enable an on-the-go team and security must be prioritised with a distributed workforce.
The benefits of getting it right are exponential. It promotes company-wide collaboration for teams to get stuck in anytime, anywhere stimulating productivity. Everyone gets an equal seat at the table; everyone is empowered to participate meaningfully.
It is important to mention that, as UC&C removes the barriers between us, considerate boundaries should be in place to prevent always-on digital fatigue. With this in place, organisations can work optimally and service their clients better and faster.
UC&C can also be extended to bring third parties (customers or even regular suppliers) into this seamless universe. Ultimately, UC&C enables a better customer experience to boost the bottom line.
The customers are the end-beneficiaries, but employees draw great value from increased avenues for adaptable productivity. More and more South Africans, following global trends, now expect flexibility worked into their role – UC&C is no longer only an issue about output, but about recruitment and retention as well.
It’s clear that bridge-building is no longer a bridge to cross “when we get there”. We are firmly there, and organisations who are bringing their priorities in line with best practices will see dividends short-term and long-term.
So, there’s no denying where we are, but what lies around the corner? We can expect to see an increase in the supply of UC&C as a turnkey service, re-positioned with an easier uptake and monthly fees versus major upfront investment, allowing for flexible scalability. The collaboration will grow into a more important function as platforms develop into workflow hubs rather than meet-and-greet spaces. We’ll also see an increase in AI and automation, with platforms performing more tracking and admin tasks.
Well then, it’s time to cross that bridge. What is your UC&C strategy?
Altron Managed Solutions
+27 (11) 373 4000