Is Your Communications Technology Framework a Patchwork or Tapestry? Why It Matters.
A research study conducted by Filigree Consulting in July 2012 found that only 3% of organizations have developed an optimized corporate collaborative environment. Equally surprising is that 72% of organizations have either “Non-Integrated” or “Unsupported” environments. Putting thought into your environment’s design and strategy is key to maximizing efficiency.
The benefits of an optimized Corporate Collaborative Ecosystem (CCE) for the 3% are significant. These organizations are seeing:
- An accelerated rate of innovation (3.1x)
- Faster & more informed decision making (2.3x)
- Meeting productivity (length, participant satisfaction) (2.2x)
- Enhanced customer experience (2x)
- Increased individual productivity (1.8x)
- Reduced environmental impact (1.7x)
- Improved information quality (1.6x)
- Reduced travel cost (1.6x)
All CEOs would find these statistics mouth watering. So why are 3 out of 4 organizations living with unsupported or non-integrated CCEs?
How Did We Get Here? Connectivity – the Great Unifier
If you look at the historical development of technology in an organization there were three different classes of technology:
- Information Technology
- Audio Visual
These technologies enjoyed rapid expansion and have become the standard in organizational functions. These historical roots are important because each of these technologies was once an island of technology within the organization. As the capability of each of these technologies increased, one of the obvious and universal requirements was to allow more people to connect to them. Greater connectivity!
- Users of IT services want access to data from any place, at any time.
- Users of Telecom technology, whose fundamental premise relied on connectivity to enhance their ability to communicate, want to communicate from any place with anyone at anytime. They also want a richer way to communicate than just using voice.
- Users of AV technology, primarily room systems in a corporate environment, need to add connectivity to expand the capability to include remote users in their meetings and to evolve the richness of the collaborative experience as well.
Connectivity enablers such as the network, the Internet, Wi-Fi, wireless carriers, Bluetooth and so many more, have changed the world. Connectivity has provided us with capabilities we could only have found in a Sci-fi movie. This has become a disruption of our personal lives.
Connectivity has also been a major, if not the major catalyst for disruption in industries and in politics.
Patchwork to Tapestry
As connectivity has increased over the past decade, the three technology “islands” are forced to unite into one framework. [Stay tuned for Part 3 of this blog for more info on a framework] The degree to which an organization has been able to move to a single unified framework where all the technologies harmoniously exist will determine where they are on the journey to an “Optimized” CCE. Filigree’s study indicates that most organizations have not even started this journey.
Every organization has an existing state of these technologies – their current state CCE. This current state is often in disarray because of the historical development of the three different islands of technology described above. The problems can be further compounded by the following factors:
- Distributed corporate model: Technology decisions are made independently throughout the organization at the divisional level.
- History of acquisition: An organization that has grown through acquisition tends to have many different technology platforms even within the historical islands of technology.
The bottom line is that more often than not, an organization is starting from a patchwork of technologies.
The carrot that hangs out alluringly for CEOs is to capture the numerous benefits (ROI) from an “Opitimized Collaborative Environment” with a comprehensive and cohesive Unified Communications & Collaboration (UC&C) strategy.
To do that, the patchwork needs to be transformed into a tapestry.
This task is similar to efforts that many organizations have gone through for other large scale technology standards. If you think about the journey to a single Enterprise Resource Platform, like SAP, there is a lot of effort required but the payoff can be big. Moving to an optimized collaborative environment requires some of the same factors for success, as the implementation of a corporate ERP system.
- Executive sponsorship
- Key functional executive buy-in (or the silos will persist)
- A roadmap for the transformation
- End User adoption (this includes employee buy-in as well)
- Investment to facilitate the transformation
The interesting thing about moving to an optimized CCE is that your organization can capture the significant ROI that is available, but the overall technology spend after the implementation should stay about the same or go down.
Questions We Are Often Asked Include:
- How does my organization’s collaborative environment rate?
- How do I move my organization down the path to an optimized CCE?
If your organization would like to answer these questions and would like to start the journey from the 72% to the 3%, we can help. Contact us.
Conference Room Audio Visual Solutions are an Integral Part of a Well Executed UC&C Platform
Unified Communications (UC) has been around for the last 15 to 20 years, maybe longer.
When I first heard about UC, it was about how IT and Telecom would come together. Fast forward to today and IT & Telecom have come together – in more flavours than most Baskin & Robbins stores carry. There is no single, clear path that every organization can follow to get to a UC platform. In fact, in most organizations there are different paths. It depends on where you are starting from and where you want to go. There will be an upcoming blog article discussing the different paths an organization can follow to implement UC.
More often than not, an organization starts with a patchwork of technologies. To capture the numerous benefits (ROI) from UC, that patchwork has to be transformed into a tapestry.
The benefits of UC are significant and are realized when you focus on solving business problems instead of applying technology.
But you still need the technology. And it is not apparent how rooms systems and conference room design are an integral part of UC and the broader picture UC&C, where the second “C” stands for Collaboration.
The systems that are found in boardrooms, meeting rooms, training rooms and other types of corporate meeting spaces were traditionally the realm of the Audio Visual (AV) world and managed by corporate Real Estate Operations. Those rooms have become connected beyond the Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) line, and the responsibility for the technology in those rooms has been/is migrating to IT.
Today those rooms need to be connected for 4 types of conferencing:
- Audio conferencing
- Video conferencing
- Web conferencing
- Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) / Smart Board conferencing
Deciding which of these conferencing technologies should be available in a meeting room will determine the level of collaboration that the meeting room is capable of enabling. I will be doing a blog post shortly on conferencing technologies enabling collaboration.
A best practice for implementing UC&C is to identify your user base and group them into User Classes. You should have between 3 and 12 User Classes. A lower number is better, even for very large organizations. Having the defined User Classes lets you move to the next step – mapping the technology each user class requires to do their job – PC (desktop / laptop), telephone (fixed / mobile / soft), tablets and other (headsets, etc).
So, how does UC&C tie into audio visual communication room systems?
The same best practices to implement UC&C hold true for room systems. Meeting rooms and spaces require a clear definition of what collaborative technology is required in the room to support the four different conferencing technologies listed above. But they need to support those technologies in relation to the UC platform deployed. For example, this means that the video in the room system needs to be compatible/integrated with the video used in the UC platform.
Having the ability to connect remote participants into the room technology conferencing modalities to support the level of collaboration required is critical in a UC&C environment. Being able to easily connect workers seamlessly into the room/meeting spaces is paramount to capturing the benefits and ROI that UC&C can bring.
To facilitate the collaboration and innovation in your organization you need to:
- Allow workers to easily connect with their UC technology platform, into the meeting rooms or spaces – UC to C, with all the different UC media types that are used by the workers; voice, video, desktop sharing, IM.
- Make the remote experience as good as being there
The penalty for poor implementation is not taking full advantage of collaborative technology ROI.
People will continue to travel, resulting in lost savings and productivity reduction. Also, real estate reduction benefits will not be realized because the workers will still come into the office. And those lost benefits can be huge.
If there are many meeting rooms in an organization, it makes sense to create room standards for up to a dozen meeting room types and implement those standards throughout the organization. This will make the technology decision for the rooms simpler, consistent and easier to use and support. An upcoming blog post about the benefits of creating room standards for multiple meeting rooms will be coming soon.
The benefits of tying your UC platform seamlessly into your room systems are significant. Doing it right requires proper planning, standards, integration and training. If you have any questions about connecting your room systems to your UC platform, contact us.