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So firstly what do we mean by the word collaboration?
Today’s collaboration platforms can trace their history back to a very silo’d origin. In the beginning, organisations had a telephony platform and email, if they were flush with cash they may also have had a video-conferencing system or two gathering dust in a boardroom.
Once networks became ubiquitous, text-messaging platforms arrived. It did not take long to add voice and video capabilities to these platforms and voila! Unified Communication was born.
Those UC platforms continued to develop over the years but the basic feature-set remained the same, they all offered voice, video and desktop sharing. The desktop clients, out of necessity largely, all looked the same, meaning that customers could switch platforms with very little end-user re-training required. This was the status quo for a number of years until vendors started to analyse the meeting process and realised that the live meeting was only a small part of the overall collaboration process.
The development of collaboration platforms
The results of that thought process led to the development of platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Slack and Cisco’s latest iteration of Webex. The basic premise is that collaboration is much more than just a team having a live meeting.
There is all the preamble discussion, creation and sharing of documents and collation of supporting information such as websites, blogs etc. Then there is what happens post-meeting with more of the same and any follow-up live meetings. These new “teams workflow” platforms are able to capture the entire circular process and store it against a linear timeline. That in itself is really useful to an organisation but these platforms go further by making it simple to integrate 3rd-party platforms into the process. These can be obvious integrations such as cloud storage or more complex examples such as service ticketing solutions or CRM platforms.
In addition the ability to add “bots” that team members can interact with and greatly enhance the quality and flow of information amongst a team. Bots are available for a multitude of tasks including language translation, weather reports, location services, currency conversion, the list is endless.
So you see, collaboration today means a lot more than just a team holding a live meeting online. Collaboration is now the culmination of multiple sources of data as well as live interaction and automated event triggers.
The importance of understanding collaboration platforms
Of course, all this has wonderful potential for a business to truly transform its processes and productivity. However, it should also now be apparent that all that integration work means that a customer cannot simply jump from one platform to another as they might have done in the old UC world. To get the most out of these platforms, customers must fully understand the working processes they are trying to model and, give careful consideration to the platform they are going to hang their hat on.
Any fundamental changes from here on in could be both costly and time consuming. Given that a lot of customers were forced into deploying these platforms as a tactical solution to the situation brought about by the COVID pandemic.
Now is the perfect time to take a breather and review how they get ahead of the situation by integrating this new story into their wider ongoing collaboration strategy.
If you need help navigating this brave new world then please reach out to your SCC representative or fill out the form below and we will be in touch:
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