Unify Circuit VP: Let the Tools do the Talking on Productivity
As part of our Tech Track series, we asked Unify Circuit’s marketing VP Philipp Bohn how team collaboration tools were boosting business performance
When people in business ask the Big Question – namely, how to make more money – efficiency is usually one of the top topics of discussion. The ability to streamline, speed up, cut waste and improve how different parts of an operation interact with one another is treated as a panacea.
If you can get everyone in a business working together more effectively, great improvements in output will follow.
This is where the world of telecoms has been able to jostle its way into mainstream thinking on business planning and organisation. A key part of improving how effectively and efficiently people work together is communication. The easier it is for people to talk, to share, to interact and connect, the better they can work.
This is certainly where the consensus of opinion is on how team collaboration platforms can be sold to businesses as essential to their ambitions for growth. For Philipp Bohn, marketing vice president for Unify’s Circuit collaboration platform, this potential to boost efficiency has given UC&C a pivotal role in the whole process of digital transformation.
“There is no doubt that communication and collaboration are key drivers and enablers for any successful digital transformation,” said Philipp. “With the right solutions in place, a business can become more agile, less hierarchical and more collaborative – which circumvents some of the biggest issues large, siloed businesses face, such as effective decision making.”
“In addition, knowledge and data sharing will increase significantly, and businesses will easily be able to form cross-functional teams, work with new external partners and customers, all leading to better, more engaging, results.”
“What is crystal clear, however, is that none of this is achievable through legacy tools like email or telephone alone. It can only be done through collaborative platforms like Circuit where content is shared within the context of conversations, and available anywhere through the cloud.”
For Philipp, the problem with email is that it has been co-opted for uses it was never designed for, which has then led to frustrations among end users. “In the modern business world, email remains a very standard communication channel with the outside world. In fact, the majority of businesses still use it as their main point of communication with partners and customers,” he said.
“But, as with any mass communications tool, email has been abused and overused. Instead of just using it for critical, traceable communications such as sharing files, it is often used like a chat – with messages going back and forth.”
“This is why new collaboration and communications technologies, such as Circuit, which can organise communication, information and data in one place and within context, are becoming increasingly popular.
“We’ve seen time, and time again, that once businesses start using collaboration platforms, internal email volume goes down to almost zero over time – which will be a welcome relief for many.”
Familiar and comfortable
Much discussion about team collaboration platforms has centred around many imitate the look and feel or consumer IM and even social platforms people are familiar with from personal use. For Philipp, this is another key factor in how team collaboration apps can boost productivity. If you give people tools they are familiar and comfortable with, they will work more effectively.
“There’s no magic bullet to choosing the right app,” he said. “The most important thing is to genuinely understand your end users, their job functions and processes, and therefore their communications and collaborations needs. Look at elements such as what channels they require to do their jobs, and which cloud services they might have brought into the business from their personal lives to make things easier, for example, chat or file sharing. Above all, whatever app you choose, it must not hamper productivity – especially for mobile workers.”
The flip side of this, adds Philipp, is that familiarity, and providing tools which match genuine needs in the workplace, will help boost user adoption.
“It is all about understanding the end user,” he said. “Put their needs first, and map out the tools they may have already introduced on their own initiative. If you know what they’re after, you cannot go wrong.”
“On top of that, offer active training and change management to help those employees that struggle to make the migration from the old tools to new ones. Finally, lead by example. When you are deploying a new collaboration service, there should be no more internal emails coming from the senior management team, everyone top to bottom has to embrace the new system.”
It is not all just about keeping the workers happy, however. Philipp also believes cloud-based collaboration services are perfectly suited to respond to pressing business needs. He takes the issue of cyber security amidst growing threats to IT systems the world over.
“Recent security events, such as WannaCry and GoldenEye/NotPetya, show how easily IT deployments, especially those on premise, can be compromised if not properly monitored and updated,” he said.
“This is where cloud-first service providers take the lead. For example, within Unify, teams are constantly monitoring the system, running updates on an ongoing basis, and fix security issues as they occur.”
“One critical point is that we would encourage all enterprises to make sure their service providers have the relevant certifications, such as ISO 27001. It may seem like just a number on a piece of paper, but it is the rigorous processes behind these standards that can make the world of difference.”