Zeus Kerravala
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his...
Read Full Bio >>

Zeus Kerravala | February 27, 2013 |


Advice to Yahoo's Mayer: Use UC to Bring Parity to Remote and In-office Working

Advice to Yahoo's Mayer: Use UC to Bring Parity to Remote and In-office Working Give home workers the right tools, and you'll have a more productive workforce than ones you force to commute up and down 101 on a daily basis.

Give home workers the right tools, and you'll have a more productive workforce than ones you force to commute up and down 101 on a daily basis.

It's been pretty widely publicized now that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer issued an internal memo that gave employees a "come into the office or quit" ultimatum. I read Mel's blog on this topic where she questioned the wisdom of this decision, which seemed especially odd considering that many of the Yahoo tools such as chat, presence and email should actually make remote working easier.

I kind of understand where Mayer is coming from. I do believe that, if not managed correctly, remote working can be a silent killer of productivity. Remote users often feel socially isolated from the rest of the organization and don't speak up or participate as much as individuals in the office. However, the solution to this isn't to just cut off remote working. Instead, look for tools that can close the gap exists in the world of UC.

Mayer also argues "speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home," but many of the studies I've seen indicate the opposite. Making the BEST decision for the company is based on an organization's ability to harness the collective knowledge of everyone globally, not just people located within an hour's drive of San Jose. So to CEO Mayer, I offer up these UC tools.

* Chat. Is there a more social tool today than chat? One could argue Facebook, but chat is often used to replace "water cooler"-type conversations. What often starts off as "yt?" evolves into a longer discussion where problems do get solved. Think of chat as a replacement for the sidebar conversations. Also, because chat is used in our personal lives, people build relationships and even friendships via chat, and create a tighter bond with fellow employees, even when they're located across the globe. One other element of chat is that some workers, particularly shy ones, may be more inclined to express opinions over chat versus an in-person meeting.

* Video. Real time video quality is so good now that it's very easy to interpret facial expressions and body language, making it almost as good as being in person. One of the innovations coming to video, though, that could make it even better than being in person is having the ability to record video meetings.

Think about the traditional corporate meeting. We'll meet in a room, discuss stuff, take away action items and then go to the next meeting. How many of us forget stuff as soon as we walk out? What about that person that misses the meeting? How do they get caught up? The ability to record a video meeting, catalog it, tag it and play it back, means we can focus on content in the meeting instead of note taking. Then we can play it back and review it when we need to. The person that missed the meeting can do the same and then provide input later and understand who said what.

* Remote whiteboarding. While not really thought of as a UC tool, remote whiteboards are an effective tool to augment in-person or remote meetings. This can be done with virtual or physical whiteboards today, and unlike physical whiteboards, the content can easily be captured, distributed and recorded. No more taking pictures of the white board with the smart phone or writing "do not erase" and then hoping to go write the stuff down the next day.

* Web conferencing. Most people think of Web conferencing as a tool for one person to present to many, because that's the way it's primarily used. I know several companies, though, that use it as a way of capturing real-time feedback, similar to a whiteboard. Start with a document or PowerPoint and then "pass the ball" around as needed to make real time edits. As soon as the meeting is over, the company has a fully updated document. Juxtapose this to everyone in a meeting having a printed sheet of paper, making notes and then someone trying to aggregate it at the end. I would advocate that Web sharing be used even with in-person meetings for this very ability.

* Presence. The concept behind effective collaboration is to harness the knowledge of the best people, and presence can help do this better than trying to round people up in a physical meeting. Let's say you needed to speak to a technical engineer about a customer problem. Presence allows you to quickly see who's available and who isn't available for discussion, message the best person and then bring them into a conversation. That best person could be in a different region or time zone.

Making these UC tools the norm does require a culture change in most companies, but my belief is that working from home can be just as effective or more effective than being in the office. If Yahoo is trying to do things differently, establish a culture that best fits future workers--not past workers. If you've got workers that are going to waste time at home, dragging them into meetings in the office isn't going to help. Instead give home workers the right tools to build relationships and collaborate effectively, and you'll have a more productive workforce than ones you force to commute up and down 101 on a daily basis.

Follow Zeus Kerravala on Twitter and Google+!
Zeus Kerravala on Google+


March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

February 7, 2018

Enterprises are starting to grasp the critical importance of security and compliance in their team collaboration deployments. And once the risks are mitigated, your enterprise can integrate these n

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.