One of the hottest words in business today is collaboration, the idea that new technologies can help us to work together more efficiently and effectively from any site anywhere. It’s true these technologies do “connect” us, but are we really enabling better conversations, higher quality work output and happier employees? Or are we just purchasing more technology?
Certainly we’ve graduated from using our desktop computers and landline phones, and we have alternatives to driving across town or having to get on a plane to meet someone. In fact, there are more technologies than ever for enabling communications in real time from any device. But these innovative tools are accompanied by a variety of nuances and considerations that may often get glossed over by the juggernaut of expectations that is unified communications.
The appeal of collaboration is exciting, but that excitement can lead small- and mid-sized businesses to make decisions that prevent them from optimizing their investments. The hype and possibilities of collaboration and UC technology often drive companies to form unrealistic or uninformed expectations for their solution and the results collaboration will bring them. In their rush to adopt the latest devices and apps, companies often progress without performing their due diligence, resulting in them missing out on valuable features and benefits or overspending on technology.
While the UC and conferencing providers offer standard set-up services that get their clients up and running quickly, those large providers might not offer the implementation and optimization needed to help companies make full use of their solution from the outset. The push to check the box on implementing the latest collaboration technology may also drive client companies to invest in solutions without taking the time to consider the bandwidth of their IT staff, which can also prevent them from taking full advantage of their investment.
Overview of challenges:
- High expectations by clients who are buying the potential of a product rather than the actual practical solution
- Too many companies moving forward without a plan or the staff to implement and train others
- Basic setup of services from UC and conferencing providers get companies started, but they don’t usually cover the implementation and optimization that is possible
- Clients paying a lot for only some of the benefits
The challenges in leveraging collaboration technology and realizing its full potential boil down to a simple concept: do-it-yourself business collaboration isn’t always easy for SMBs. Buying the technology is not the same as solving business challenges and getting the outcomes you’re looking for. Thankfully, there are solution providers focused on small- to mid-sized businesses that can help design, onboard, implement, train and support collaboration technology and UC to deliver the advertised benefits.
The Value of an SMB-Focused Provider
In the push to adopt collaboration, businesses are spending money but aren’t taking advantage of all the features – despite the promise of nearly limitless flexibility, scalability and portability of the technology. Sometimes customers start out with misaligned expectations, and other times customers simply don’t understand the staff and technology requirements needed to make the most of the investment. Either way, companies considering collaboration solutions will want to find a smart and customer-oriented solution provider to help navigate the technology selection process as well as every other step of the way down to reviewing monthly billing for accuracy.
Our belief is that collaboration should start BEFORE technology is even considered. SMB clients of all sizes and industries should start by identifying their requirements and mapping out their collaboration rollout so they can maximize the utilization of the technology – and truly see an ROI. UC and conferencing technologies are powerful tools – but they’re not a panacea. Combining smart applications with comprehensive training and support is the best way to leverage the many benefits of true collaboration.
Talk with us today about your business goals, and we’ll help you find the right applications and services to fit your requirements and budget. You might be surprised how much you can save!