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How well can your services capabilities navigate the path to transformational unified communications

January 20, 2017

Rajesh Menon   

Vice President - Customer Success Management, Tata Communications

Are tried and tested unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) solutions still strong enough to face the challenge of engaging workers? Research by Gartner  suggests change is needed, as the digital transformation compels IT leaders to revisit whether UC&C still meets their requirement.

 We should not be surprised by this: we know that most successful companies of tomorrow will be those that build a culture of collaboration, which transforms their business.

In the years that I have worked in UC&C, it has been a continual process of evolution and  advancement, beginning with the streamlining of email, voicemail, faxes all into a single mailbox. The new world is now about taking these siloed applications and integrating them into one single interface, then shifting it all from the desktop to the smart phone. There has been lots happening in the world of UC&C, but the real driver to revisit them is the fact that enterprise tools are becoming unwieldy, at the same time, social tools such as WhatsApp are becoming more attractive to workers.

Enterprises are feeling the pain and are looking for services and expertise to help guide them through.

Move beyond a siloed UC&C ecosystem

In my experience, businesses fall somewhere on the continuum of “silo’d” UC&C ecosystem, all the way to ’transformed’. One thing is for sure – all businesses want to transform, but the journey is not simple. They need to assess their options, figure out the migration path and then take the leap to transition. But if every business unit has its own unique collaboration ecosystem and a mixed, underpinning communications platform – then it’s not easy.

 So how do you navigate this complex path and reach your destination? In my view, the most important consideration is to work with a services team who can help you to start to think firstly about how you could get the most out of existing investments, then at that point consider how to make the most of new best-in-breed technology. Don’t go for big bang – start in the place where you get the best ROI and then work your way to a unified platform.

For true UC&C transformation – adoption is key

Even with a comprehensive solution in place, the question remains: how do you drive adoption? If people are opting for easier-to-use social tools, you need to work really hard to get them to adopt the chosen corporate platform. We’ve all tried to access a conferencing platform and if it doesn’t work after two or three attempts, we give in and use an alternative. With the number of employees that work remotely expected to grow to 63 million this year (Forrester), it’s essential for employees within the digital workplace to be able to collaborate efficiently.

You need expertise that can help you think about the design and ensure you have the right communications platform that can support your demanding users across contact centres, video conferencing, telephony, messaging, and beyond. You need an adoption team that will do whatever it takes to help you get the benefits from the technology.

Move beyond your organisation

The future is about going beyond your own organisation and extending collaboration into your ecosystem of customers, partners and suppliers, not forgetting that robotics and AI will also have a more important role. This all needs to be factored into your chosen services platform.

The days are gone when you take a UC&C product off the shelf. You need expertise to help you collaborate across the ecosystem, expertise that can help in getting these channels interact seamlessly, expertise that makes sure you can connect when you want to.

It is time to revisit UC&C, but it should be approached in a way that assesses transition and migration from legacy to ‘transformed’. This helps companies measure their collaboration return on investment across three distinct areas namely – productivity, operational and strategic – creating the market advantage.

The goal should be to build a UC&C plaform that users will adopt and which builds for the future digital workplace.

How do you see UC&C changing as workers’ priorities shift? Let us know in the comments below.