Unified Communications are being integrated with collaborative applications to transform the way people work. Often referred to as UCC, the convergence of the two is seeing telephony mixed with messaging and data solutions allowing the user to interact in real-time over a single user interface. Users can call, chat or message, share and manipulate data, while project teams can exchange ideas and explore options.
For many businesses, UCC is so radical that it can be difficult to appreciate how it will work. There will often be some resistance from workers who are comfortable with working within certain applications, for instance, while others may feel sharing their work undermines their control over a project. Overcoming these issues is all about communicating the benefit of UCC and its ability to lighten the load by making working practices more dynamic and by ensuring that data can be accessed by those that need it. But UCC also represents an opportunity for the business to evolve.
No longer constrained and able to collaborate more spontaneously, the business can use UCC to accelerate, sharing ideas and information to become more responsive to customers and partners and ultimately more competitive. Purpose-built UCC platforms such as Microsoft Office365 can minimise user friction, helping ensure the journey is a smooth one and enabling the enterprise to capitalise on its investment. Five ways in which UCC can transform the business are:
- Sharing of data – Microsoft SharePoint acts as a collective resource where data can be edited and shared from over other applications such as Yammer, MS Teams and Skype for Business. Other applications which ‘build’ content can share over these mediums or via email or externally to the web.
- Sharing of ideas – Discussion over MS Teams allows collaborators to float new ideas and explore solutions resulting in more creative thinking that can then spawn additional opportunities for the business.
- Crowd sourcing – Users can request assistance over Yammer or appeal for help from select teams to solve a particular issue. They can also use the application to generate or gauge interest in a company initiative.
- Publishing – The business now no longer simply creates content but becomes a publisher in its own right, able to announce news internally via its intranet, broadcast over Skype i.e. with webinars and publish its own data stories using Sway, while Stream can be used to create a company video channel similar to YouTube.
- Competitiveness – Makes the business more responsive through dynamic multi-channel access for customers, partners and suppliers via Anywhere365 with a truly scalable, unified contact centre that can be used on a global basis.
UCC is not just a technological change; it’s a fundamental shift in culture and challenges the way things have always been done. It’s an opportunity but it can also backfire, resulting in applications that are under-utilised.
For this reason, we always advocate a Champions approach, with buy-in obtained within the company. We identify individuals from each department who can take back their experiences to their team before formal staff training commences. These champions also act as a sounding board, allowing employees to voice their concerns openly and honestly as they get to grips with the applications. It’s a two-way flow that ensures UCC beds down in the business.
Implementing UCC needs to be done sensitively, following a step-by-step process to ensure that applications are gradually phased in, to bring benefit to the business and deliver productivity and efficiency gains. Getting that right is crucial to migration and its where we at Adept4 come in. Contact us today to find out how your business could transform and evolve by moving to Office365.