Patrick  Harper
Patrick Harper, CTO at PGi, is an award-winning business executive with an impeccable record of delivering value across a broad...
Read Full Bio >>

Patrick Harper | June 21, 2017 |


Avoiding Organizational Collaboration Tool Overload

Avoiding Organizational Collaboration Tool Overload Consider these steps to maintaining control of the IT agenda.

Consider these steps to maintaining control of the IT agenda.

Over the years, the role of the IT team has continued to expand, in part, thanks to digital transformation. From security and compliance to productivity and workforce effectiveness, this transformation has pushed the role of IT to encompass more new responsibilities than ever before. With employees pushing their own BYOD agendas and IT teams constantly being pressured to stay at the edge of the technology cliff, it's easy to understand how some organizations may be experiencing collaboration tool overload.

More than 80% percent of respondents to a survey conducted by Frost & Sullivan division Stratecast confessed to using non-approved software-as-a-service (Saas) applications in the workplace. This means a growing number of employees are communicating and collaborating across multiple, non-secure devices and applications in addition to company-provided software.

Supporting and deploying the right mix of technology while upholding strict security measures makes for a daunting IT task. Ensuring that all solutions and vendors have the right organizational, scalable, and strategic fit for end users and the enterprise is critical.

Software vendors promise to enable employee productivity and support business growth. And employees and teams can easily be drawn to over-hyped vendors and applications that promise the world, but may not deliver the best outcomes for their businesses. Before your organization gets caught in collaboration tool overload, consider these steps to maintaining control of the IT agenda.

    Stay informed
    As an IT professional, you're likely passionate about new technology, so this step may come naturally to you. However, staying informed about new technologies isn't always as simple as glancing over your favorite tech blog or discussion board once every few weeks. To truly understand why people are asking for a new tool or before pulling the trigger on replacing legacy technology, you need to stay educated on how the latest technology can help various lines of business.

    Understand employee needs
    Understanding the employee pain points is a crucial factor in determining exactly how technologies can be strategically beneficial to the organization. It's important to know if there are unique use cases for different departments, and to understand how implementation of new technology may be beneficial for one team and have no direct impact on another. Each organization, department, and team member has a unique collaborator profile and understanding your collaboration mix is critical to ensuring your teams aren't being overloaded with tools that aren't necessary, relevant, or efficiency drivers for your organization.

    Prioritize what's important
    In spite of the advances in communication technologies -- face-to-face video, instant messaging, mobile applications and more -- the cornerstone of collaboration -- the conference call -- can be easy to forget. Conference calling has long been an integral part of the corporate world. Rapidly changing technology is providing us with newer, more efficient ways to collaborate yet the conference call continues to be a mainstay. Prioritizing quality audio solutions is a necessity as poor audio can ruin any important meeting. Poor audio quality hinders our ability to communicate effectively, forcing meeting participants to struggle and strain to understand their co-workers, deal with distracting background noises, and even put up with constant interruptions thanks to delays and difficulty determining who is speaking. Audio often remains a bit of an afterthought in light of the innovative promises of other communications software, but it remains a crucial part of how work gets done.

    Ensure they integrate
    In order to avoid needlessly overcomplicating your employees' lives, you must consider collaboration tools that seamlessly fit into what we like to call a user's "inertia." In other words, how does a tool integrate into existing tools and workflows? If your new messaging solution and existing Web and video solutions don't integrate nicely together or force users to navigate multiple interfaces and tools to get a conference together, you've done a poor job optimizing your unified communications strategy. Any audio conferencing solution you consider for your organization should offer seamless integration paths for your existing communications.

Whether it's a brand new tool surfacing to market or a free app that all your employees seem to be downloading and using on their work devices, there's never a magical cure-all when it comes to your UC strategy. Businesses must think of how the technology works within the context of their own people and processes. By putting IT at the forefront of these conversations, companies shift from thinking of IT as the service provider of days past to an empowered team that is making the right choices for the business and its employees.


October 24, 2018

With disparate workplaces and ever-expanding volumes of information to manage, the challenges for collaborating effectively are only intensifying. Many critical applications are not integrated, and

October 10, 2018

Businesses are growing across international borders quicker than ever, but scaling operations to follow suit can be a harder, longer process.

This webinar focuses on scaling your next-generat

September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

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.