We’ve talked here many times about the reasons to move to Unified Communications and leverage the benefits of collaboration. But are there wrong reasons to make this move?
Geoffrey Moore thinks so. The analyst and author of a number of books about disruptive technologies talked to InformationWeek recently, declaring that implementing collaboration tools because you think the younger employees in your organization expect them as the "worst possible reason" to do so.
Problem is, Moore explains, that when you implement collaborative technologies such as IM, mobile e-mail, and Facebook/Twitter-type tools because you feel you are forced to, “you’re not going to do it very well … and you’re not going to do it in any focused way.”
Moore calls this approach a “sop to the millennials,” the generation that has never really known what it’s like not to be connected at all times. His prediction: such an initiative will not only be a waste of money, but it may actually alienate those younger employees you’re trying so hard to accommodate.
Moore isn’t advising organizations to avoid or delay collaboration, just to implement it for the right reasons. Seamless Enterprise readers certainly know what those reasons are: the increased productivity and efficiency of being able to connect with and collaborate with your peers in the most convenient ways, virtually anytime. That includes mobility in all its forms, and the ability to know who is available and when and what is the best means of communications with them at any given time.
You are hearing more and more about “latency” – delay – in communications technologies, as networks aim to trim milliseconds off the connection times for applications such as stock trading and other financial services. That is, in a sense, what UC and collaboration are designed to do – reduce the latency involved in working with fellow employees toward completing projects and ongoing business.
So as Moore and others advise, collaboration and UC have to be custom-fit to the needs of the enterprise. They must be focused on the “critical moments” that a given organization faces. Those could be the specific needs of R&D teams, the need to respond promptly and carefully to customer service issues, reputation management, or any number of important, delay-sensitive concerns.
Moore postulates that a new era of IT investment is coming, built around collaboration technologies, akin to the wave of investment we saw in information management systems such as ERP and supply chain/inventory management tools not so long ago.He contends that while many companies have embarked on bold collaboration initiatives, and still more are talking about such moves, we haven’t yet seen the broad, across-the-board, must-have embrace of collaboration and UC.
He knows it’s coming, though, and so do we.