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Connecting People or Engaging Them? Collaboration Tool Problems
August 4th, 2017

Connecting People or Engaging Them? Collaboration Tool Problems

Ian Linton

The key to a collaborative workplace is engagement. So should collaboration tools engage people or connect them? Find out in this article.

VoIP and unified communications (UC) have helped revolutionize collaboration, bringing it out of the conference room and enabling participants to meet anywhere on any device. With collaboration tools available on personal computers, high-end desk phones, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, connectivity is no longer a problem.

But, is that enough? Shouldn’t collaboration tools engage people, rather than just connect them? The key to a collaborative workplace is engagement. Employees must treat collaboration as a natural and integral part of their working day. Collaboration tools must become part of everyday workflows and working practices.

In that kind of environment, collaboration is the driver for better decision-making, shorter project lead times, faster time to market and improvements in team working.

Convenient collaboration

Engagement improves when collaboration tools are easy to use and meetings are simple and convenient to arrange. By using the audio, video and web conferencing tools available with VoIP or UC solutions, employees no longer depend on fixed conferencing systems that are hard to book and difficult to operate.

Participants don’t have to travel to meetings or even be in the office. They don’t have to book conference rooms and they can set up meetings at short notice. Integration with calendar applications simplifies meeting set up and notification, helping make collaboration convenient and accessible.

Better collaboration experience

Collaboration is engaging when people can clearly see and hear each other, judge body language and reactions, and generally, act as if they are in a face-to-face meeting. With VoIP’s video conferencing solution every participant can have the same face-to-face experience, wherever they are located.

That’s an even bigger bonus for remote workers who rarely meet in person. They feel engaged with their colleagues and lose the sense of social isolation that can affect remote workers.

Simpler content sharing

Engagement gets even stronger when people can share content. The ability to share presentations, images, plans, spreadsheets, and documents creates a richer collaboration experience and makes meetings more productive. Reviewing, updating and approving content helps maintain or accelerate progress. It also clearly demonstrates the benefits of collaboration. That can encourage people to make greater use of it.

Content collaboration has become even easier with developments like Microsoft’s integration of Skype for Business unified communication with Office 365. Employees working on presentations, budgets or reports don’t have to leave their Office applications to collaborate.

They can launch meetings from Word, Excel or PowerPoint and involve colleagues in reviews and approvals. Collaboration is embedded in business processes and that makes it even more engaging.

Removing the IT burden

VoIP and UC can help businesses create collaboration experiences that engage users. But, it’s equally important to engage the IT department who is responsible for enabling and supporting collaboration.

The simplicity of these collaboration tools means that IT does not have to commit resources to support users beyond initial deployment and familiarization. The tools are compatible with other UC-based solutions so that IT does have to deal with integration issues or set up conference bridges. And, as an added bonus, IT can use these collaboration solutions to modernize its own communications and services.




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