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IT/Communications: Looking Beyond Technology

Nicola Suttle Alamy Stock Photo.jpg

Image: Nicola Suttle - Alamy Stock Photo
The good news about technology adoption in the era of hybrid work is that IT/communications teams still have the leading role in selecting and implementing the tools, platforms, and systems that get deployed. The complicating factor – I won’t call it bad news – is that IT’s job doesn’t end with the technology. More than ever, IT must collaborate with peer organizations within the enterprise and then make dedicated efforts to bring end users along with the program.
Those are some of the highlights of the two sessions that will bookend next week’s Enterprise Connect Virtual Event on Sept. 28 (more information and registration here). Our opening keynote session, a discussion between analysts Tim Banting and Adam Holtby of Omdia, will offer perspectives on a Future of Work survey that Adam has just released; the day’s final session is a presentation from Melissa Swartz of Swartz Consulting, on Using Change Management Strategies to Drive Hybrid Work Success.
Omdia’s Future of Work survey found that in a plurality of enterprises – 48% – IT “determines the need and makes the final recommendation” on technology for hybrid work. But in many other enterprises, the process is already more diffuse – in 29%, “senior management evaluate the solution and provide research on investment decisions to departments/business units,” and for 18%, the organization “makes decisions with the input of stakeholders from across different business units.” Holtby’s presentation sums the situation up this way: “IT departments are the gatekeepers of digital technologies. Business should look to move to a more collaborative and integrative procurement approach.”
The need for this broader IT vision also emerged from another survey question, “What has your organization found to be the most challenging aspects of the increase in remote and hybrid working?” The number one response was, “Ensuring employees are sufficiently supported in the use of business systems and services.” It’s worth noting that the survey base included not just IT representatives and chief digital officers but also HR and finance organizations as well.
So how should IT/communications professionals approach the broader mandate outlined in the Omdia survey? One key tool, as Swartz will describe in her session, should be the discipline of change management.
Swartz will describe a couple of different experiences she’s had in rolling out communications technology, where adherence (or lack thereof) to the change management plan made the difference between success and…let’s say, much more limited success. Her list of critical resources for your enterprise in this process includes:
  • Good people skills
  • An understanding of the workflows that will be affected
  • Good written skills
  • Staying organized
Another point that’s absolutely critical: Budget up front for all the resources you’ll need in order to execute on the adoption plan.
Of course, next week’s digital event will feature nitty-gritty technology sessions on topics like E911, customer experience, and video interoperability as well. This type of session is always at the heart of any Enterprise Connect program, and will continue to be so, whether the format is digital or in-person, as we’ll be next March 27 – 30 in Orlando.
Speaking of which, next week’s digital event is the unofficial kickoff for our Enterprise Connect 2023 Orlando cycle. The website for the in-person event will debut, and we’ll be starting to share details on some of the new and exciting elements of next year’s show, including many of the conference sessions. We can’t wait to share it all with you.