Looking ahead and future-proofing your lockdown collaboration solution

Many organisations were forced to rapidly deploy collaboration solutions this year to cope with remote working and ongoing travel restrictions. Now businesses are focusing on recovery, getting back to the office, and emerging from lockdown to be as competitive as possible.

Some businesses are finding that their emergency lockdown solutions are not offering the flexibility or level of performance required to take them forward and kick-start their business in a tough economy. IT leaders are now having to support hastily deployed systems and re-think their collaboration strategies to drive recovery and long-term success.

Its about enabling your staff to succeed.

The first step to future-proofing your collaboration environment is to define clear objectives, and one of the goals should always be employee engagement with your solutions that enables better productivity.

Last week we looked at the risks shadow IT have caused during lockdown and how quickly deployed conferencing solutions had led to remote working staff circumventing ‘official’ tools to keep their familiar workflows.

As you begin to plan how to update your lockdown solution for the new normal, make sure you have a clear view of feature such as ease of use, familiarity, required functionality and how well the solution integrates with various mobile devices and other critical software. But consider these requirements from the point of view of employees as well as the overall business strategy.

  • What are their feature requirements?
  • What are their familiar workflows?
  • What systems are their clients, suppliers and partners using and will your solution ‘play nicely’ with them?

It is not lost on any budget holder how important it is right now to use available budget as effectively as possible, and the way to ensure collaboration and videoconferencing spend is effective, is maximise staff engagement and adoption.

Performance is key.

Many organisations have leaned heavily on free tools over the last few months. Phased migrations have been put on hold and once streamlined collaboration environments have become fractured and siloed.

A big headache for IT departments has been supporting remote workers with variable levels of internet bandwidth or competing demands on home broadband. Many a worker in the last 5 months has jumped onto a video call with a key prospect, only to struggle with distorted audio or a poor-quality video stream. Sometimes this cannot be helped, such as when there are too many users on limited bandwidth but still the problem will be laid at the IT department’s feet. In some cases, it can be the platform or hardware is the issue, with many free and consumer-grade platforms not having enterprise grade uptime-guarantees or high standard of reliability.

Help employees carry out network speed tests at home and indicate if an alternative solution is needed to ensure good collaboration, audio, and video performance for your staff. Ensure that your solution has sufficient monitoring, analytics to identify potential issues and where possible, gives you a good level of support and a single point of contact. Any service desk engineer will tell you how much of a headache it can be trying get resolution for a issue that have originated from multiple hardware and software sources and the pain of being bounced from one support line to another as different suppliers are reluctant to take responsibility.

Lean on your trusted advisor.

It is very useful when developing and refining your collaboration strategy to lean on your trusted advisor. An independent expert, with no bias to one platform or another not only has the experience and specific expertise to help you create or evolve your solution to meet your strategic requirements, they are also have the benefit of an outside view. They can help you strip back the competing internal pressures and requirements and help you re-focus on the fundamental objectives that will actually help your business improve it’s productivity and efficiency in the long term.