The future of team collaboration
The scramble to adapt enterprise communications in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to many organisations experiencing issues with security, support and efficiency with their team collaboration solutions.
To explain, as the pandemic swept the world, enterprises found themselves having to rapidly transition from having a majority of their workers based in the office to sending most of their employees into work-from-home (WFH) mode. In fact, a global study from Nemertes found that, from a benchmark of 34% of employees based at home in February 2020, the number had shot up to 72% by April.
While some companies have since been able to introduce more structure to their WFH programmes, many are still grappling with the need to consolidate their employees’ various collaboration tools and solutions, so their workforce is more efficient and secure, and compliant with company policies.
So, what can an IT team do to adequately support team collaboration in this unprecedented, complicated time? How can they help ensure workers – whether they are working from home or back in the office – don’t feel isolated and instead feel like part of the team and have access to all of the resources they need to do their jobs? And, how do they prepare for future team collaboration needs when we are not quite sure what the ‘office of the post-pandemic future’ will look like?
Overcoming multiple platforms and a lack of integration
First, IT teams need to address workers’ use of multiple platforms that are not integrated with each other or with existing business applications and enterprise communications platforms.
To rectify the situation and help ensure that team collaboration will continue dynamically among workers based at home, in the office, or anywhere, organisations should:
- Reassess the aggregated array of tools being used now for calling, video-enabled meetings and team messaging. This must include all those solutions procured to address recent short-term needs, especially if currently ‘under the radar’ of the IT department;
- Evaluate solutions that provide an integrated user experience and enable straightforward integrations with business applications and workflow processes; and
- Pursue applications that overlay onto and integrate with existing on-premises platforms, while introducing new cloud-based capabilities like video conferencing and integrated messaging.
Addressing legacy investments – three different options
Second, organisations that have poured time and money into meeting the needs of mass WFH must also confront the prospect of stranding legacy infrastructure investments.
As organisations emerge from WFH to a hybrid return to office, they have a few options to consider. They can:
- Adopt a single vendor approach to simplify infrastructure and enable a standardised technology strategy for UCC across the organisation. This achieves a unified user experience and simplifies application integration, but will typically involve an expensive, complex and time-consuming migration.
- Continue with a multiple vendor approach, thereby exploiting invested assets and potentially evolve to a more consolidated approach around a minimum number of vendors at the desired pace. This would compound the ongoing pain experienced by users and administrators and impinge on attempts to gain value from UCC technologies as the business transitions to more progressive and dynamic working practices and support widespread WFH.
- Explore opportunities to layer and extend new cloud-based collaboration capabilities that have native integration with existing phone systems. This provides users with a unified client while keeping ROI on existing PBXes intact. Capitalising on cloud-based solutions also enables rapidly emerging features that improve remote worker collaboration to be adopted easily.
Softphones are key to collaboration
The last of these three options naturally precipitates adoption of UCC softphones, which cut communication costs, enable real-time presence and provide the maximum possible mobility for employees.
UCC softphones that are fast to roll out and capable of overlaying existing call services allow organisations to streamline communications without the waste of scrapping legacy infrastructure; at least until full cloud migration makes greatest sense.
Bria Enterprise provides desktop and mobile softphone applications that facilitate best-in-class calling and robust call control features. Whether used for inbound or outbound calls, Bria makes it easy to integrate contacts from various sources, streamline communications and manage calls from one easy-to-use interface.
CounterPath Corporation is revolutionising how people communicate in today’s modern mobile workforce. Its award-winning Bria solutions for desktop and mobile devices enable organisations to leverage their existing PBX and hosted voice call servers to extend seamless and secure unified communications and collaboration services to users, regardless of their location and network. CounterPath technology meets the unique requirements of several industries, including the contact centre, retail, warehouse, hospitality and healthcare verticals. Its solutions are deployed worldwide by 8x8, Airbnb, AmeriSave, Aspect, BT, Citibank, Comcast, Fusion, Fuze, Honeywell, Liberty Global, Windstream and others. Learn more at counterpath.com and follow us on Twitter @counterpath.
ScopServ Integrated Services is the provider of world-class cloud-based contact centre solutions. The core of our operation is ensuring that customer experience is satisfied. We ensure that our solutions are ever evolving with our customer needs. Our offering is backed by our technical expertise, warranties and exceptional after-sales service. We pride ourselves as representing some of the best and leading ICT brands.