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Living with Multiple Team Collaboration Apps

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Image: Gerd Altmann -
Team collaboration) applications – an alternative to face-to-face meetings – have become mainstream. These apps enable users to message and meet, share documents and data, and use persistent chat rooms to facilitate the flow of information within an organization. Enterprises can choose from many team collaboration apps, but this embarrassment of riches has a downside: Excess choices can lead to confusion.
It’s not unusual for companies to have at least two to three team collaboration tools in operation by different groups and locations. It’s easy for individuals to purchase and deploy free or low-cost cloud-based services that don’t require any hardware, without the blessing or even knowledge of their IT departments. In many organizations, different groups or departments use the collaboration application that best meets their needs. Most often, one location will use Microsoft Teams, while another uses Workplace by Facebook. Meanwhile, workers from a newly acquired company utilize an entirely different solution, creating a hodge-podge of collaborative tools. This creates challenges for both end-users and IT staff, especially when the applications are adopted without corporate or IT approval.
For example, the utility and value of team collaboration become limited when users are on different collaboration tools, as collaboration requires a critical mass and works best when everyone can easily participate in collaborative sessions. Slack users in engineering may not be able to collaborate with Microsoft Teams users in marketing, or Facebook Workplace users in a branch location, for example. The biggest challenge falls on the IT staff, which needs to support and manage multiple applications.
Many businesses that have invested in team collaboration apps must now determine whether to continue supporting multiple applications or consolidate and standardize on one platform. Each approach offers benefits and challenges. Organizations that support several tools claim they allow groups of workers to use the ones they prefer and give users more choice. Products like Mio, 8x8 Sameroom, and CafeX Challo create interoperability and enable communication between various team collaboration applications, providing another option for organizations. Additionally, software companies are progressing at embedding the tools needed for a specific job and provide connectors to the other packages when users need to message within a group. However, supporting various tools can be taxing on IT, and opens privacy and compliance issues.
One standardized application is easier to manage and integrate with the company’s UC solution while making it easier for different groups to collaborate seamlessly. However, organizations with multiple applications that decide to consolidate face another challenge – how best to migrate users from one collaboration product to another – this involves migrating content, conversations, and workflows.
At Enterprise Connect, I’ll be moderating an end-user panel to discuss the pros and cons of having consolidated or multiple collaboration tools, how to manage multiple tools, and what IT leaders and managers need to know to get the best results from these applications. Attendees will hear from enterprise IT professionals representing various perspectives and approaches, including:
  • Strategic Financial Solutions, which supports a variety of technologies and vendors, including Workplace by Facebook, Slack, Microsoft, and 8x8
  • Craft and McCann Worldgroup, which migrated users from multiple applications to Microsoft Teams
  • C&S Wholesale Grocers, which had allowed each department to deploy its collaboration tools but now is gradually standardizing on RingCentral Glip
  • VMware, which is leveraging Mio to provide interoperability among Slack, Microsoft Teams, and other collaboration tools
We’ll cover why each organization chose its path, as well as best practices and lessons learned, providing practical and actionable insights to help you decide which approach is right for you and how to get optimal results.
I hope you’ll join us for this EC20 enterprise case study session on Monday, March 30, from 1:00 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. to learn more about this important topic. You’ll walk away with help your organization may need to get the most from your team collaboration solutions.

BCStrategies logoThis post is written on behalf of BCStrategies, an industry resource for enterprises, vendors, system integrators, and anyone interested in the growing business communications arena. A supplier of objective information on business communications, BCStrategies is supported by an alliance of leading communication industry advisors, analysts, and consultants who have worked in the various segments of the dynamic business communications market.