Reorganizing for Collaboration - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

12:00 AM
Irwin Lazar
Irwin Lazar
Connect Directly

Reorganizing for Collaboration

Over the last several weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with numerous enterprises about their communications and collaboration plans.  While there is a growing interest in unified communications, and enterprises increasingly see the benefits of real-time collaboration, organizational issues remain the primary hindrance to adoption.

Unified communications offer significant opportunities to improve communications, both internally and externally, streamlining business processes, improving customer response, and shortening sales cycles, but they force enterprises to radically rethink how they manage communications within their organization.  Most enterprises are still struggling to integrate voice and data teams, and often groups responsible for communications and collaboration applications such as instant messaging, web conferencing and shared workspaces remain independent entities, operating on their own, without coordination among other related groups.

In a recent conversation with one enterprise, I was surprised to hear that while the voice and data teams worked on plans for migration to VoIP and unified messaging, they had not consulted with the IM group -- which had its own plans to deploy an enterprise IM application which offered integrated voice and video.  This failure to communicate could have led to redundant, non-integrated systems, resulting in higher costs and a management nightmare. (Think of the scenario when the help desk gets a call that the voice chat capabilities in Microsoft Live Communication Server 2005 aren’t working, only to call the voice group and be told that the voice managers have no idea what the user is talking about.)

The trend toward “communications as a web service” where application developers have the capability to integrate real-time communications functions such as call control, web conferencing, and instant messaging into business process applications offers potential for further confusion, especially with regard to responsibility for educating application developers of the opportunities presented by the increasingly open interfaces of real-time communications platforms. (Witness IBM Lotus’s recent announcement of integration of the open-source Eclipse framework into SameTime 7.5 and numerous VoIP vendors adding support for web services interfaces into their call control platforms.)

Enterprises need to walk, not run, to unified communications and real-time collaboration.  They should start by creating “tiger” teams of individuals from across various communications and collaboration management teams.  They should, at a minimum, coordinate plans and understand the impact that system purchases in one functional area will have on the others.  Beyond basic regular communication, they should develop relationships with line-of-business managers to determine specific business scenarios where unified communications and collaboration strategies can offer real benefit, such as demonstrable ROI based on process improvements. 
Finally, enterprises should work to a long-term goal of creating a communications and collaboration function within IT, charged with coordinating and planning enterprise-wide adoption of unified communication and collaboration applications.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
COVID-19: Using Data to Map Infections, Hospital Beds, and More
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  3/25/2020
Enterprise Guide to Robotic Process Automation
Cathleen Gagne, Managing Editor, InformationWeek,  3/23/2020
How Startup Innovation Can Help Enterprises Face COVID-19
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  3/24/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
IT Careers: Tech Drives Constant Change
Advances in information technology and management concepts mean that IT professionals must update their skill sets, even their career goals on an almost yearly basis. In this IT Trend Report, experts share advice on how IT pros can keep up with this every-changing job market. Read it today!
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll