In the modern age of work-from-home, it’s fair to say that there are a lot of ways to collaborate.
More so, it may be more accurate to say that there are far too many ways to collaborate—and therein lies the problem.
As a seemingly endless list of apps and connectivity sources continue to flood the market, the level of technical expertise required by end-users and IT is bordering on the impossible.
Firstly, there are the standalone apps that require nothing more than a credit card. This is where IT, security and compliance should be having a heart attack. Why? Because for every Zoom call, Skype message, and DropBox file shared, information is leaving the proverbial four walls completely outside of the corporate watchful eye. And at the core of every instance of rogue IT, there is a dissatisfied user.
This is where the second, and much larger issue comes to light. As mentioned, technical expertise comes at a premium. And as such, many companies struggle to not just maintain systems but also address the ever-growing complexity of integrations and future needs—a dark hole of despair that just never ends.
As new platforms flood the market, along with accompanying consumer driven expectations, companies are being forced to keep up. But keeping up is not the current goal—it’s simply keeping the lights on, especially with 2020 being the year that it has been. With all efforts focusing on maintaining the status quo, the big picture shrinks into the horizon, often never to be seen again. It’s this that makes the problem even worse.
For example, Microsoft Teams is the perfect storm of where technology and expectations collide. And as expectations mount—and the more organizations begin to adopt MS teams—the outside world demands everyone follow suit.
On the technology side, it’s Microsoft: meaning it’s familiar, easy-to-use, and connects with the most common of daily apps. However, it also means that to integrate the platform with existing UC infrastructure, a very substantial amount of time and money must be spent to achieve the goal. This is in direct conflict with the aforementioned struggle of simply keeping the lights on. But it also MUST be done.
To illustrate expectations, here’s a real-time example of this that I experienced less than a week ago.
A very well-known company sent a meeting request to my team members. The proprietary platform they used required a specific internet browser, one that multiple team members were forced to download and install. This of course resulted in making everyone 10+ minutes late for the video call as they all worked through set-up, technical difficulties, and a fair amount of profanity. The result? The general consensus was that their user experience was terrible; why couldn’t they have just sent an MS Teams link?
See where this going?
With limited budgets, too many different systems paired with cumbersome UC infrastructure, and poor user experiences, IT is left holding the bag for too many problems, too much work, and the demand to spend too much money. So what’s the alternative?
If I had to solve all of this with a single word: cloud.
As 2021 looms, UC complexity is not going away. There will be more apps, more demands, and more everything to address. However, cloud UC solves all of it.Integrations from all major vendors including Cisco, Microsoft, 8×8, RingCentral, and the list goes on are all easy and highly available—all of them realized years ago that the cloud was the path forward, and had to ensure ease-of-integration with the cloud environment.
What should add to the desire to move to the cloud is the inherent cost savings experienced across the board. Gone are the days of expensive upgrades, costly integration bills, and even the wasted time of senior staff addressing mundane tasks that should otherwise never see the top of their desk. For all of the pros and cons of cloud, the cons are so rare that they no longer come into consideration. It’s the pros that all companies need to focus on in the coming months and through 2021.
This so-called new normal of “everywhere connectivity” is just the beginning. Everything that we once embraced about old-school office life is now gone. Moving forward, being able to connect with anyone, anywhere in a seamless fashion is the only expectation that matters. How you get there—that’s the easy part. You simply need to start with a single step.
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