by Dave Smith

Focus on openness and culture when selecting collaboration technology

Apr 03, 2019
Collaboration SoftwareSmall and Medium BusinessTechnology Industry

Enterprise planners have to ensure technology investments can integrate and work well with existing infrastructure investments.

Enterprise collaboration strategies have to focus and center on people. This is an organizational culture initiative. Efficient collaboration happens between people who need to interact around critical business workflows and processes. While internal collaboration is a primary focus, many enterprises lack strong support for external collaborative interactions.

The issue at hand is that a lot of collaborative interactions happen with external people in a vast and oftentimes complex business ecosystem. External collaboration with customers, partners or suppliers can yield tremendous competitive advantage and boost a company’s bottom line. However, companies have to use a systematic approach to develop a sound and successful strategy for building collaborative ecosystems and communities.

It’s about a culture of collaboration that flattens organizational hierarchies and supports connectedness regardless of geography. This includes a serious commitment to openness for internal and external people and systems.

Look for open collaboration platforms and effective meeting experience solutions

Regardless of the collaboration platform or technology being used to connect with internal and external stakeholders outside of the organization, openness and the ability to integrate are critical capabilities. In the case of video collaboration technology, that openness has to go across platforms as integration is critical with existing video infrastructure and room system investments.

It’s on this point that I always recommend enterprise planners to focus on meeting experience solutions. It’s not about just wanting video for video’s sake. Business decision makers have to focus on supporting quality interactions and seamless experiences between people.

The Red Hat video collaboration story

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Red Hat CIO, Mike Kelly and BlueJeans CEO, Quentin Gallivan, to talk collaboration, open source and openness in the digital workplace. For some context, in October of 2018, it was announced IBM will be acquiring Red Hat. With its open source DNA, Mike Kelly intimated that as Red Hat was evaluating providers for video collaboration, it was critical that the technology platform be open.

It was also critical that there be a true partnership with the technology vendor. Open source constructs were important, and Mike felt BlueJeans wanted to be a part of that journey. Quentin Gallivan chimed in to say that “like any partner, we earn each other’s business and the product has gotten a lot better with Red Hat customer feedback along with BlueJeans’ own innovations.”

Mike explained that Red Hat has developed a collaborative culture, which is a heritage of the larger open source community culture. This requires collaboration from anywhere and from any device. An immediate challenge Red Hat needed to solve was around the complexities of integrating internal teams across multiple continents and broadcasting large-scale, externally facing interactive meetings and conferences.

Mike and the Red Hat team came to the conclusion after its evaluation that BlueJeans was the clear choice as both internal meetings and external events could be managed with one system while offering deep levels of interoperability.

While the initial internal customer was IT, the solution quickly spread across the entire organization. Key to that adoption was a frictionless meeting experience. Mike detailed how other use cases have emerged alongside internal meetings, such as very large usage of the BlueJeans Events service for interactive broadcasts and also video interviewing in HR for recruiting.

The latter two, speak to improving interactions with people external to the organization. In fact, the annual Red Hat Summit is broadcast live via Events.

According to Mike, one of the key differentiators is the interactivity component of the service. BlueJeans is how they interact. Video became an internal service to support Red Hat’s collaborative culture.

As a result of adopting the BlueJeans service, Red Hat was able to both grow and improve collaboration with teams across the world with employees using more than 10 million minutes each month.

Follow the best practices

Red Hat evaluated solutions and providers with the mindset of finding what matched their internal company values. It’s a collaborative culture and they wanted technology that could support that and help people get their work done without friction.

Integration into the existing environment was critical. The provider chosen had to become a true partner as they needed to grow together along with the solution. It is here where true partnership shines as Red Hat provides key customer feedback that helps BlueJeans product development.

When choosing collaboration solutions and providers, organizations have to focus on developing a collaboration strategy that is all-encompassing and includes support for specific work processes. So, in Red Hat’s case with BlueJeans, the focus had to be on video enabling applications and the processes involved. They had to focus on the meeting experiences to support a conversational workplace environment.

It was about a video and meeting experience solution where it mattered to people in supporting the work they do. Finally, enterprise planners have to ensure technology investments can integrate and work well with existing infrastructure investments.