Boosting business agility with consolidated collaboration technology
As organisations shift gear from their business-critical strategies to work alongside the pandemic, it’s valuable to understand the potential for hybrid collaboration for business growth. After the initial hiatus of organisations using hybrid collaboration to survive – many have since coasted with solutions they developed from different technologies when deploying at warp speed with tight budgets. As their businesses have morphed, many continue with solutions which are not fit for purpose – it’s possible some organisations are even persisting with shadow IT.
We’ve come a long way from the hybrid collaboration of early 2020 and the technology has improved following customer feedback. Firms now depend entirely on all stakeholders in their ecosystem – customers, partners and workers – being able to communicate and collaborate effectively. Embracing one consolidated collaboration solution can offer organisations increasing agility in a challenging digital environment.
Moving from reactive to proactive
The main excuse for most firm’s clunky approach is business continuity – then being side-tracked from updating their collaboration strategies. Many organisations are unable to scale and deliver for customer needs using the original solution they deployed. It’s time to develop a strategic plan to harness their major assets – people and technology.
Organisations must realise when they’ve outgrown their first hybrid collaboration systems, which barely speak to their needs, and give substandard data visibility and connectivity while carrying real security risk. The best option is to migrate to a single robust collaboration solution that is cloud based, such as Microsoft Teams or Webex, to offer the most superior benefits.
The benefits of consolidation
The key benefits of consolidating collaboration technology include enhanced customer service through a single real-time view of all collaboration tools and data sources. Consistent communication with customers – anytime and anywhere – is vital. This will support the tech-enabled sales associates, giving them the right information at their fingertips to guide customers through browsing and buying. In improving service delivery and boosting customer loyalty, this will in turn increase revenue.
Productivity can be boosted by streamlining workflows and being effective with users’ time. By consolidating many tools into one environment, users won’t waste time moving between systems. This way of working truly maximises the valuable time of workers, and they are motivated by their own improved productivity.
Through a more unified billing process for internal and external communication, an organisation will more effectively control costs. In identifying and removing infrastructure which isn’t proving profitable, the costs of usage can be reduced.
An improved compliance posture is expected with all collaboration and communications-related data generated, stored, and processed within a secure and governed environment. This avoids critical blind spots from obscuring regulatory breaches for instance, which may otherwise go undetected in shadow IT.
There will be more intelligent decision making with rapid access to accurate reporting across all activities. Consolidating collaboration gives a single dashboard view of potential areas where customer experience can be enhanced, and improvements made across business functions.
Beware the sceptics
Lingering poorly founded concerns of sceptics have held some back from adoption. These include the lack of viability of ‘living in’ one environment and around unnecessary costs to customise environments and apps in accordance with particular business objectives. Some claim it may add risk to consolidate with a single point of failure.
But understanding integration as a defining factor of the solution will help. The very nature of it being integrated, with in-built resiliency, ensures the benefits with none of the risk. Functions from a broad range of systems, apps and data sources can be actioned, managed, and reported on from a single consolidated solution. One hub unifies a wide range of data sources for easy and swift access, both private cloud or on-prem environments, legacy, and third-party software – while keeping the flexibility and precision of specific functions. Even with the strictest storage or processing requirements, collaboration, decision-making and agility isn’t negatively impacted.
This consolidated approach eradicates data silos and gives better visibility, while minimising risk with frequent data backups and platform redundancy. In-built resiliency ensures that in cloud environments, the consolidated platform poses no availability or security risk. Integrating functions such as regulatory monitoring, payment processing and customer experience training provides added value. And partnering with the right tech expert will help integrate with your preferred options if a platform’s supporting functions aren’t right for the business.
Consolidating collaboration technology for competitive advantage
While almost all organisations see the huge value consolidating collaboration technology can bring to their business, it’s important to realise every project must be tailored – both the platform and its integrations.
Looking to the future is also critical when choosing any technology to improve business processes. With remote and hybrid workstyles here to stay, organisations must optimise their collaboration solutions to play a key role in enabling competitive edge. Proactive planning to make collaboration technologies a driver for business change is vital to deliver for the ever-changing customer experience expectations, and outperforming competitors.
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