In recent years the technology used by consumers has surpassed the technology utilised by companies and organisations. Access to information and virtual communities is immediate and common place in our social lives. It is therefore viewed, as a natural extension, that we should expect the same levels of accessibility that sophisticated technology can give us, in our professional lives. After all, technology was about delivering efficiencies and sharing information within and amongst corporates before it became a social norm.
The result of this technology explosion is that corporates are now left with £000’s of communication technology, which they may still have to utilise even if it is not the most current option. The conundrum for many corporates is what to do with it. Continually changing and updating communication devices or systems, which keeps pace with all of the technological changes, is unrealistic, but communicating effectively is still a necessity.
The speed at which technology is changing makes it difficult for us to understand which options we should favour. Creating an infrastructure which enables the migration of multiple devices onto a single communication platform could be a way forward in creating true unified communications.
True unified comms includes more than just voice. We would consider that it includes VoIP, collaboration, instant messaging, presence, a range of applications and more. All of which are designed to improve our working day. Indeed a communications strategy in today’s technology landscape does require levels of flexibility and planning.
Finances need to be optimised in such a migration and some interfaces may be more readily deployable than others. To work within the financial budget may mean not everyone is moved to the new unified communications system from the start.
The choice of technology is also a consideration. The decision isn’t simply which communication system or technology to employ, but who will benefit and how. Too much reliance on communication can slow activities not speed them, if not used correctly.
An example would be the e-mail alert, as a standalone feature this is a great tool, but how many times have we stopped working on the task in hand as we are interrupted by the alert? On occasion technology can distract us from the task in hand, or muddle our task requirements instead of being a positive influence on us.
This is not to say we should shy away from technology, rather it is a decision to make in conjunction with the users. Some require full feature rich applications, collaboration features, video, but these need presenting to the user in a way what works best for them. Others may not use more than a text or voice call to achieve their optimum performance in the workplace.
Whatever the solution it takes time to build the right systems for the organisation, and while we would like everything today, perhaps this complexity works in the favour of balancing our finances. Organisations need to learn how to use the right technology to their benefit and to the benefit of the users.
The key benefit will come when the organisation processes are enhanced by the technology, where a user can be guided by forms, tasks, gaining access to information or relay information to colleagues simply and quickly. Simply deploying new technology requires a cost but, if not done with a level of planning and understanding, does not necessarily provide a working advantage.
Without the platform of unifies communications in place no user benefit can be gained, but the decision on who has what, is one to be taken wisely, reusing existing technology as much as possible and migrating in line with budgets and organisation process enhancements identified.
Unified communications is here to stay it will be part of our everyday corporate life. The migration to it though, for complex communication-reliant organisations, is a considered progressive one rather than a leap, if high costs and low ROI is to be avoided.
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