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Around the clock collaboration

John Tan | April 27, 2011
Collaborate anytime, anywhere - that is the promise that unified communications and collaboration (UCC) technology brings to companies seeking to leverage greater effectiveness and efficiency from their business operations and processes.

Without UCC, this plethora of communications channels can actually lead to uncoordinated workflows and confusion between employees, which results in decreased profitability and dissatisfied customers.

Storey mused that most often, employees “simply guess whether the desk phone, cell phone, e-mail or instant messaging, is best for reaching their colleagues at any given time.”

Cisco research revealed that in more than half the organisations without UCC, employees are unable to contact co-workers on the first try.

A recent survey, conducted by technology marketing consultancy Vanson Bourne, found that companies save 10 per cent of communication costs using UCC, and upped customer satisfaction by 21 per cent.

Pace Setting
Storey was curious about the pressure companies faced from employees who want to use their favorite devices and applications within the enterprise IT environment, and what policies enterprises had to govern their adoption.

Participants unanimously agreed that they were constantly bombarded by requests from employees to introduce the technologies that they use from the consumer sector into enterprise IT. Skype, iPhones and iPads are examples.

Development of communication technologies in the consumer sector have generally out-paced their adoption for enterprise IT, especially with the blossoming of social networking in recent years.

Delegates agreed that the importance of information security for companies, however, meant that new technologies have to be carefully assessed for vulnerabilities before acceptance into existing enterprise IT.

Andreas Kusch, chief executive officer for Avodaq, agreed that the demand for new technology cannot be stopped and the challenge was to change the mindset of employees to embrace corporate policy.

Easy for the Young
He observed that the younger employees generally have no difficulty with embracing new communication modes like social networking. It was the older workers who needed to be won over by emphasising ease of use.

Kusch noted that the younger employees prefer to use instant messaging over e-mail, using the former tool 90 per cent of the time. “We need to get rid of e-mail pingpong... things that keep you busy all the time, instead of being productive.” After all, “50 per cent of people prefer to settle problems in an instant”.

The roadmap for Avodaq sees the roll-out of e-mail to everyone and the availability of instant messaging everywhere.
Tools like video conferencing have become standard in Avodaq and Kusch said this has enabled him to build friendship, and communicate more easily and “trustfully” with co-workers - something that audio or e-mail communication cannot match.


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