Communication options have exploded with the massive increase in mobile devices. While the standard phone call and text message definitely have their place, online communication channels are opening up new avenues for chatting. If you worry that this could lead to wasted time at the office, keep in mind that it also allows for the rapid spread of creative ideas and collaboration on a scale that has never before been seen.
Succeeding in Consumerization of IT
By Curt Finch, CIO
Communication options have exploded with the massive increase in mobile devices. While the standard phone call and text message definitely have their place, online communication channels are opening up new avenues for chatting. If you worry that this could lead to wasted time at the office, keep in mind that it also allows for the rapid spread of creative ideas and collaboration on a scale that has never before been seen. While popular social channels such as Gchat and Facebook Chat remain the most popular, there are specific communication applications built with business in mind. Even more, there are applications that allow for discussions at the individual, team, or company-wide level.
Following are some examples from these different tiers to give you an idea of options available to your organization.
The need for individual communication is ever present, whether it is a quick reminder for a meeting, an urgent message to begin damage control, or simply a request for assistance. For executives, a clear line of communication with assistants or other personnel can maximize office efficiency. My good friend Paul Brooks developed an iPad app, Office Bleepster, after observing the smooth interaction that Haim Saban (yes, the producer of Power Rangers) had with his assistant through the use of well-structured digital communication channels. Office Bleepster, and other individual communication apps, allow for personal communication during meetings, while on phone calls, or even while attending or presenting a webinar. Office Bleepster also offers one-button messaging; with a single tap of the finger, you can send a message without interrupting a speaker or another executive during a meeting or presentation.
Being able to communicate with team members in an organization has numerous uses from project management to software development and beyond. Team communication applications allow for the interactions to be maintained for future use and organized within a specific client to ensure that the communication is direct and distraction free. OneTeam, by developer “ProcessOne,” is such an app and derives its strength from integration features. It is optimized for corporate communication by allowing connection to corporate chat servers through Jabber, but can communicate with users from many other popular networks, including Google Talk, Facebook, and Twitter among others. In addition to maintaining a communications base, OneTeam catalogs chat history so users can peruse conversations at a later date.
The advantages of social networks for sharing information with personal connections are well known. However, most popular networks do not offer the security needed for internal corporate communications. Salesforce, a company that needs no introduction, has developed Chatter, a social client that can be used by only the employees of one company to ensure secure internal communication and collaboration. The service allows for chat, postings, and most other features common to social networks. It also includes a desktop client that allows employees to communicate without using a web browser. All of this functionality comes at a very affordable cost (if you’re already a Salesforce customer): absolutely free.
Another service worth mentioning is Yammer, which I wrote about several months ago. We’ve used it here at my company and enjoyed the extra social element it brings to the workplace. Yammer can integrate with email and your company’s Salesforce account, which are big benefits.
Using these flexible tools, and instituting them from the top-down, offers many advantages to a business. Leveraging the BYOD trend to improve efficiency will be a hallmark of effective companies in the future as these devices become more and more prevalent, and one of the first areas to innovate will always be communication.