Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise's latest case study reveals the truth about collaboration
Collaboration is one of the biggest buzzwords in the business world today. As more companies continue to explore concepts like remote working & globalisation, collaboration tools have emerged to support the new “digital” workforce.
Leading communication and collaboration vendor Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise recently conducted a study into an SMB using their Rainbow collaboration tool and CPaaS solution, and their findings point to some valuable insights for today’s companies. According to the ALE study, your employees may be using consumer-grade collaboration tools, without your knowledge.
I spoke to Jean-François Rey, the Product Marketing Director at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise to learn more about the latest research.
The ALE case study was intended to discover not only what kind of success their SMB client had seen with the Rainbow client, but also which factors had prompted them to embrace the service in the first place.
“Business and IT departments are discovering that their employees are using consumer-based collaboration tools without their knowledge. Unfortunately, with the case study in question, the business was built largely around intellectual property – that meant that employees were sending crucial pieces of data over a system that wasn’t secured or optimised for business use.”
After suddenly learning that their staff members weren’t using the right tools in their collaboration strategy, ALE’s customer decided that they needed a system that was controlled and secured for enterprise purposes. “That’s why they came to Rainbow. First, they wanted a cloud-based solution because they didn’t have the resources to manage an on-premises system. Secondly, they knew that the data centres for their German business were in Germany, and they also knew that the data they were sharing would be protected.”
ALE doesn’t use the data that moves through their Rainbow tool for commercial purposes, and the SMB clients that Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise serves were able to test the Rainbow experience first before they decided to roll it out to their full time. “They got great feedback from their teams, and decided to upgrade to a premium experience, with additional features for all of their employees.”
Perhaps the biggest concern of the case study was that the business leaders and IT departments had no idea that their employees were using consumer-grade collaboration apps. It wasn’t until the business stumbled across the issue that they realised that there was a need for a new kind of tool in the workforce. As Jean-François told me:
“Businesses aren’t always aware that their teams are looking for collaboration solutions because employees don’t always go to business leaders and tell them that they need something. The key message that we think is important here is that business leaders need to ask their employees whether they’re using consumer-grade collaboration apps to collaborate.”
ALE thinks that it’s crucial for modern companies to find out whether there’s a genuine need for collaboration tools in their organisation before they assume that these applications have no value to offer. “You might not think that anyone is using these systems in their team. However, if you’re not providing people with the right corporate solutions, they could be getting what they need elsewhere, and putting your entire business at risk in the process.”
This risk of “Shadow UC” or Shadow IT not only presents an issue for SMBs, but it could also be a significant problem for larger companies too. As Jean-François noted, this isn’t the first time that Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise has interacted with a company that had no idea they needed a corporate-level collaboration tool.
Rey noted that although Alcatel-Lucent’s Rainbow solution might not be the ideal service for consumers, and everyday users, it offers a far superior experience from a business perspective. For one thing, Rainbow has a very clear data policy, and they can let their customers know where their data is at all times. This means that you can access valuable peace of mind with a service like Rainbow.
“We’re working on certifications for specific verticals, and we also have integrations with business phone solutions – which can be very valuable for people who want to use their business phone frequently. Now, you can use Rainbow alongside your front-end system, because it connects with your WebRTC gateway, so you don’t have to worry about silos in your workforce.”
As a business tool, ALE believes that Rainbow offers something that’s safe, more easily integrated with the phone system, and capable of providing companies with the tools they need to thrive. “We also have the CPaaS solutions for bigger companies, which means that they can embed their collaboration needs into their existing business tools.”
I was interested to find out if Jean-François thought that anything was particularly surprising about the case study. He told me that Alcatel-lucent Enterprise has spoken to multiple customers who have been in a similar situation in the past. Some of their customers had been on business trips and discovered out of nowhere that their colleagues were using consumer-grade collaboration apps.
“People are stumbling across the issue, and most of the time, if you had asked them beforehand, they would have said that they didn’t need a collaboration tool at all.”
The ALE case study suggests that businesses need to be more cautious when it comes to finding out what’s going on in the backgrounds of their business operations. There’s a fine line between catching a problem like this in the early stages, and seeing it evolve into something severe, like a data breach or fraud issue.
With so many issues regarding privacy appearing in the last year, it’s more important than ever for companies to put data protection at the front of their to-do list. As ALE’s case study shows, collaboration is happening – whether you know it or not.