5 Communication Tool Rollout Tips For Happier Employees

5 communication tool rollout tips for happier employees

Employees today have more ways to communicate and collaborate than ever before, from desk phones and email to productivity apps in the cloud, instant messaging, video conferencing and smartphones. Many IT managers, however, are hesitant to invest in new collaboration technology, most claiming the tools they’ve already implemented to help employees work faster, smarter and happier are not being used to their potential.

As we’ve seen before, what end users want is rarely in perfect alignment with what IT departments provide. When selecting and introducing new office communication tools – which employees rely on regularly – even small discrepancies in priorities can result in major gaps in user adoption and even job satisfaction.

In our recent study, Working Hard or Hardly Networked we surveyed employees and IT managers to explore IT departments’ processes around unified communication (UC) and collaboration tool rollouts, and their impact on employee user habits and overall happiness.

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Cheat Sheet: Seven Tips to Collaborate Better

Cheat Sheet: Seven Tips to Collaborate Better

Collaboration. There’s a million ways to do it, and a million ways to fail. Here are seven simple strategies to jumpstart your collaboration strategy and ensure your labors are fruitful.

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How to create a common vision for collaboration

How to create a common vision for collaboration

Like many companies, Softchoice has invested in a number of collaborative technologies over the years. Some for general use, others for specific tasks in dedicated lines of business. And like many companies, we’ve unfortunately accumulated a hodge-podge of different technologies that are used inconsistently across the organization.

Start with an Audit

Our IT team agreed that a common vision for collaboration across the company was critical for adoption and measuring ROI. It was also important to avoid collaboration tool fatigue. So our first step was to hold a collaboration vision workshop, which happens to also be a service we offer to clients, to answer the question “What exactly are we trying to achieve with this technology?”

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20 highlights from the 2013 Softchoice CIO Summit

2013 Softchoice CIO Summit

The consumerization of IT is causing huge headaches for organizations. Employees now dictate the devices, apps and services they want to use, and IT departments are being forced to oblige.

The 2013 Softchoice CIO Summit – part of the Softchoice Innovation Forum brought together technology leaders from Softchoice clients and many of Silicon Valley’s trendsetting organizations. And using three business “Megatrends” Softchoice has identified, the group set out to expand their collective understanding of what BYOD, Collaboration and Cloud really means for the modern enterprise.

Here are the core findings. You can download a longer PDF version of this article here, or at the end of the post. It includes more details into the various Megatrend breakout sessions, along with the outcomes from the sessions.

20 highlights from the 2013 Softchoice CIO Summit:

  1. Social media – and its assoicated behaviors – have set the standard of communications and collaboration within business as well
  2. The consumerization of IT brought about by Apple’s iPhone and iPad has created fundamental changes for how businesses view consumer technology in the workplace, and even onboarding employees
  3. SaaS sprawl is causing massive headaches for businesses all over, and is in fact responsible for changing the role of IT within organizations
  4. Mobile technologies mean our expectations of each other from a work and availability perspective has increased significantly – and IT departments are feeling this burden too
  5. The consensus was that most organizations are on the path to BYOD in some way, shape, or form
  6. It was agreed that much of the change management required for BYO and Mobility actually lies outside of IT
  7. All participants agreed that you must have some type of roadmap or strategy that has buy in from other leaders in the organization, including the CFO
  8. Participants believed strongly in experimenting with pilots across different groups. The thinking is that BYO may not work across the entire organization – and that’s ok
  9. Establishing KPIs early on for any net-new program is critical – even as part of the overall vision – so there is alignment
  10. When it comes to SaaS, users know most of what they want is out there already. They just want IT to make it easier for them, to the point of getting out of their way
  11. Summit participants voiced concerns over the viability and long-term prospects of the many vendors playing in the SaaS space. Specifically, if they go out of business what happens to the data
  12. Even if it was easy to get back, one executive asked “where would we put all that data when our data centers weren’t built for that ?”. The group also recognized there are risks that even they haven’t thought of yet – the invisible ones!
  13. When it comes to cloud, many felt there is a bit of a ‘wait and see” in the short term as the SaaS market is still somewhat immature. That said, doing proper discovery provides the opportunity to do some evaluation through the use of small pilots to prove there are realized cost savings
  14. Collaboration means different things to different people and organizations. The group agreed that at its core, collaboration enables the ability to access data anywhere, anytime, on any device
  15. Many organizations have invested in many different collaboration tools, which has resulted in confusion around how and when they should be are used and integrated
  16. There was agreement that most organizations lack the overall vision for how collaboration comes together to benefit the organization in a way that is measurable, and ensures ROI can be tracked
  17. Change management is paramount when considering collaboration. Without supporting users with the right consistent training, people will revert back to their old, more manual and less cost effective ways
  18. The group felt it was important to move a little differently and adopt a process where you begin with analysis, then move to research on the technology you are looking at followed by a proof of concept and only then if all goes to plan, move to deploy
  19. The measurement of success is something that most organizations struggle with today with their current collaboration investments. The team felt it was important to establish methods up front to track ROI
  20. The ultimate measure of success is that of productivity – and making it easier for people to get things done

Overall, we had some great advice and ideas exchanged in our Megatrend breakouts. Consistently, we heard the need for all of these trends to align with the needs of anytime, anywhere, anyhow and on any device.

Download a longer PDF version of this article here. It includes more details into the various Megatrend breakout sessions, along with the outcomes from the sessions.

Services Spotlight: Manufacturing Industry Podcast

Over the years, we’ve worked closely with a variety of market segments,to help them adapt, grow and thrive in spite of economic change and technology evolutions.With all that experience and knowledge behind us, we thought it would be interesting to hear from our Softchoice experts directly, so they could share their insights and perspectives on how technology can help  deliver competitive advantage, improved customer service and operational efficiencies.

Manufacturing Industry Spotlight: Podcast with Jeff Martin

Jeff Martin, Manager, Professional Services has worked with many major manufacturers over several years. In this podcast, he discusses how Softchoice solutions helped manufacturers manage technology change and improve productivity and processes within their organization.

Listen Now

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Let’s Be Frank Episode 2: Feeling Disconnected

Dear Frank,
Recently, my company has added some branches across the country – which is great because we’re growing. But I’ve never been a fan of long-distance relationships. We try and keep in touch with co-workers, but the phone can be expensive and email just isn’t providing the intimacy we need to feel connected. How can I put the spark back into our (long-distance) relationship?
From,
Feeling Disconnected

Dear Feeling Disconnected,
Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) have become the standard form of staying connected for companies large and small. Network transport costs have continued to decline in cost and quality continues to improve. So let’s be Frank and talk about how we can take advantage of this.

To begin with, let’s look at video. A lot of UC&C systems offer video end-point to end-point calling out of the box. Imagine your branch manager talking to the operations manager face-to-face without traveling. How powerful is that? For meetings larger than two, [Read more…]