by Dave Smith

Choosing the right collaboration technology for workplace connectivity

Mar 01, 20195 mins
Collaboration SoftwareIT LeadershipIT Strategy

If they don't involve the people and the critical processes they're involved in, business decision-makers will fly blind when making technology decisions.

Communications and collaboration technology tools are worthless and ineffective if they don’t facilitate or support workplace connectivity. Speaking with business leaders and technology decision-makers has made it clear that collaboration tools suffer low adoption when they don’t support how people actually work together or connect. If a tool creates friction in workplace communications, it is an absolute non-starter. Therefore, a key objective for any enterprise investment in communications and collaboration technology has to be improving people’s work experiences and helping them get their work done. Anything less, is uncivilized!

Establish the purpose

The technology decision has to have as its core purpose the enhancement of the internal, customer and external-facing interactions of the organization. This is a continuum. Research shows there is a direct correlation between both the employee and customer experience. Digital workplace strategies have to factor in the experience of all stakeholders in every business process. Collaboration and coordination with external partner or customer organizations and stakeholders is critical.

Looking for the right communications and collaboration tool

So as business technology decision-makers, you have to bring the right tools to support communication and collaboration across a wide range of stakeholders. One of the major problems I see is misaligned communications and collaboration tools being implemented in organizations without any real purpose to address specific use cases or business processes. The key is matching tools and technology capabilities to actual use cases.

I had the chance to speak with multiple franchise owner and entrepreneur, Alex Mercado from Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico. Alex runs multiple businesses, including six Subway and a couple Carl’s Jr. restaurants among other businesses and interests. In speaking with Alex about communications and collaboration tools, he intimated as an overarching goal, looking for technology that enabled him to work from home and connect without friction to people across all of his businesses. He basically wanted a tool that could provide context and help him manage projects and communications across all his various businesses. We’re talking about businesses with different sets of teams and in different locations. Now that is a tall order for sure!

This led Alex down a journey of evaluating several technology offerings. Let me interject here to say, when evaluating tools, it’s not about if it’s bad or good, it’s about is it the right fit for you and your organization and the specific processes it needs to support? So, after a thorough search, Alex decided on Glip from RingCentral. From his early testing and usage, Alex mentioned that Glip allowed him to manage his companies from anywhere, letting him create separate communication channels with each of his teams, manage tasks, and even collaborate with his suppliers around the world, all online and often from his home.

While Alex is a unique case, the fundamental principle here is that he identified the communications and collaboration needs across his multiple businesses and let that serve as the basis for selecting technology to solve the key challenges. To add some real color to these challenges, Alex had to deal with managing an enormous number of projects and tasks. Add to that the numerous employees, contractors, suppliers and business partners that he needs to communicate with daily.  For all of this to run smoothly, he needed a technology platform that was easily accessible from any device and that could manage all of this information and data, while providing the critical context required to have a clear view into his people and operations.

Alex mentioned that as he works with suppliers in Holland, China, the United States, and in other places all over the world, all of their communication and collaboration is now easier because they do it all through Glip. An interesting thing to note here is that as Alex found Glip effective, he in turn became an evangelist of showing its benefits and convincing his entire ecosystem of partners to begin using it. As one of the main challenges for technology adoption is perceived usefulness, Alex was extremely instrumental in showcasing the benefits across all of his teams.

When choosing a communications and collaboration technology, it is imperative then that people and the critical processes they are involved in be at the center of the decision. The idea is to become a more conversational enterprise that supports rich conversational experiences internally and externally with customers and partners. In the case of Alex Mercado, he had to factor in all the businesses he runs as well as his entire ecosystem of partners. There needs to be a clear picture of the needs of all stakeholders and how they actually work. Without a clear picture and purpose, business decision-makers will fly blind when making technology decisions.