Top 4 Reasons to Formalize your Corporate Communications Framework
In my last blog I explained what a Corporate Communication Framework (CCF) is and what it should look like. In this blog I want to answer the question – Why bother formalizing the CCF at all?
After all, chances are no one is asking for your organization’s CCF.
But, there are a number of compelling reasons to spend the time to get this down on paper. Here are the top 4 reasons why a Corporate Communications Framework should be formalized:
#1. Competitive Advantage
Formalizing the CCF is the first step to getting your organization to becoming a more collaborative organization. Firms that collaborate better perform better.
Clarity on which communication tools your organization uses enables greater collaboration by eliminating confusion.
The types of communication tools and the quantity of communications tools are constantly expanding. This expanded choice opens up possibilities. But it can also cause confusion and disarray. Sorting through the choices and the disarray is important.
The new technologies and feature creep within existing communication tools are blurring the lines of differentiation between the tools, which can in turn:
- Result in different parts of the organization using different tools for the same functional purpose. This often leads to ineffective communication and supports siloing within the organization, not collaboration.
- Lead to duplicate licensing – paying more than once for the same communication tool capability.
“If you drop a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will frantically try to clamber out. But if you place it gently in a pot of tepid water and turn the heat on low, it will float there quite placidly. As the water gradually heats up, the frog will sink into a tranquil stupor, exactly like one of us in a hot bath, and before long, with a smile on its face, it will unresistingly allow itself to be boiled to death.”
Having a good CCF in place means that the communications tools become enablers in the background infrastructure and your employees can focus on their jobs.
Time spent getting communications technologies working or sync’d means less time working on the job. People might think they are accomplishing something by getting the technology working but this has a huge cost impact to the business. Using work time to get communications tools working is another example of the Boiling Frog Syndrome (see Wikipedia excerpt) at work.
Getting technology tools functioning should not be a part of your meeting time. A perfect example is Skype. Getting Skype to work in corporate meeting environments, which it isn’t designed for, often leads to spending up to half the meeting time getting the technology to work. What you thought was a FREE communication tool is all of a sudden costing you a lot of money. But like the frog being slowly boiled, you may not be aware of this cost.
If the technology works without spending time getting it going, you can focus on the tasks at hand, and move your business forward.
#4. Accelerating Your Corporate Culture
With a well thought out and optimized CCF, there are more options available for what content is created and how it can be communicated. The people responsible for the Corporate Communications Strategy in your organization will have greater communications capabilities available to them. Having more choices and options on what content they communicate and how they communicate it means, they can communicate richer experiences with greater impact and can accelerate the messages that shape corporate culture.
We can make our organizations better at communicating by formalizing our Corporate Communication Framework. The CCF is a critical piece of a corporate collaborative ecosystem (CCE). Taking the first step of formalizing our CCF can be transformative.
Once your CCF has been formalized and optimized, make sure you review the CCF at least once a year. The rate of change is accelerating and communications tools are always evolving. The CCF should be a living strategy in your organization – like a movie, not a picture or snapshot in time.
The second step to transforming your organization is to move more of your organizations communications to Real Time. This can have a profound impact on your business. I will discuss this in more detail in a future blog.
If you need help sorting out the patchwork of communication tools in your organization and turning them into a tapestry, we can help. Contact us.
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.