Why Integration is Key in 2020

“Integration” is a word we are hearing more and more from our clients as organisations are turning their attention to second half of 2020 and are seeking to re-integrate their collaboration environments that have become fragmented during lockdown.

So we’re taking a look at why integration is again becoming a crucial driver for IT leadership steering their organisation through the lockdown and beyond into the new normal.


Defining Integration

When IT professionals talk about integration, they are referring to how well different systems & platforms work together. It’s always been best practice to pick a central supplier such as Microsoft or Cisco to base an organisation’s IT infrastructure around, ensuring that all the various tools that it’s staff require to work effectively from email servers to videoconferencing are compatible and integrate properly together.

A properly integrated ecosystem gives IT department to keep control of their ecosystems, ensuring it’s secure and allowing them to support users effectively.


But Then, Lockdown

We all know what happened next, the global pandemic arrived, and we all went into lockdown. Most forward thinking IT departments already had tools in place to support new ways of working such as 'hot-desking', remote working and ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD). But the suddenness and sheer scale of pivoting to support sometimes entire global work forces remotely challenged even the most prepared IT departments.

During this time, requirements rapidly evolved as staff had to adjust to new ways of working, communicating with colleagues, clients or partners and collaborating with their teams. As a result many organisations found they had to rapidly adopt new tools and software. Shadow IT sprang up in many places and previously locked-down, fully integrated IT ecosystems became increasingly segmented and ‘spread out’.

Understandably, the driving factor during the early lockdown was keeping teams working and finding short term solutions to guide the organisation through a unprecedented scenario. For many, resource and budgets had to tighten and with many staff using their own devices, integration took a back seat to more urgent requirements.


The Road to Normality

Now restrictions are starting to relax and organisations are turning their attention to the second half of 2020 and planning how to get their workforces back as close to normality as possible. This in itself Strategies are evolving and new approaches and new ways of thinking are needed as to put it simply, very few people have a clear picture of the road ahead.

While its hard to predict how this will go and every company has it’s own unique challenges and issues, one thing is certain, working practices, attitudes and expectations have permanently changed.

Remote working is here to stay for many organisations but staff start returning to the office they are bringing their new working practices and toolsets with them. New workflows and familiarity with collaboration and videoconferencing tools have sprung up since IT last saw their colleagues face to face and IT leaders now face a difficult challenge to re-integrate these systems and software into a compatible ecosystem while maintaining their users familiar workflows.

For many this has been tough time financially and understandably organisations don’t want to lose the investment they’ve made in meeting rooms, huddle rooms and on-premise conferencing hardware. But if their workforce mass-adopted a easy to use cloud videoconferencing solution such as Zoom, they might be reticent to return to using MS Teams or Webex and with more remote workers, IT departments have a tougher task retaining control and enforcement of the tools used by their staff. Shadow IT is a very real risk now.


But There are Solutions

Fortunately many collaboration and videoconferencing service providers have recognised this challenge and even before lockdown where moving to introduce more interopability between their platforms and others.

And solution providers such as Videocall have the tools and expertise to help steer organisations through these challenging times. We are helping our clients bring integration back to their collaboration environments and helping them to balance requirements such as the need to keep costs manageable by retaining and retaining legacy endpoints alongside protecting user’s familiar workflows.

If your organisation if facing similar challenges, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you through your challenges.