The Key to Successful Enterprise-Wide Collaboration

The Key to Successful Enterprise-Wide Collaboration


Author: Mark Roberts, Chief Marketing Officer at PGi

When choosing communications and collaboration technology, a key factor is the user experience (UX).  This includes a well-designed user interface (UI) to enable intuitive collaboration.  The UI comprises all the visual elements used to interact with conferencing platforms - from screens to pages, buttons and icons.  

A poor UI can create communication challenges, and the outcome can be a negative UX. This can culminate in frustrated employees, and IT projects being abandoned due to poor user adoption. As a result, collaboration stalls and productivity declines.

A study by the University of North Carolina in The Harvard Business Review revealed that of 82 senior managers across various industries, 71% of them said meetings are both unproductive and inefficient.  The focus should be on making these meetings easier by improving the UI and improving the overall UX.

The Harvard Business Review report also stated that 39% of CIOs and IT professionals have said that technology makes it time-consuming for employees to access business data and applications without IT help.  Even if the conferencing platform does have all the functions that users need, time, money and effort can be wasted trying to find features, such as recording and chat, at the moment that they’re needed.

The challenge for CIOs/CTOs is to understand when, where and how their employees use communications and collaboration technologies in the workplace, and more importantly, which elements are critical, and which are nice-to-haves.

Boosting productivity through UI

According to our research, carried out with The GSMA’s Mobile World Live, 44% of people say they prefer to use their smartphones for unified communication and collaboration services. The mobile experience is something IT decision-makers must build in to their project strategy. Technology must be seamless, and the UI has to be customised for specific devices, including desktop, tablet and mobile devices that people across the organisation are using.

Whether on a mobile or otherwise, logging into a virtual meeting should be simple. An effective UI needs to be easy to navigate, have relevant capabilities and perform in a similar way to our most familiar apps.  These factors will drive a positive experience and improved productivity.

The value of user testing

It is only through consistent user testing that both design and product development teams can improve the design of collaboration tools. At PGi, we execute ongoing iterative user testing to enable teams to make incremental improvements until they achieve the required UX goals. Techniques for example, such as cadence mapping informs us on how usage across different functional areas like chatting or scheduling gels into patterns for the end-user.

During this process, our testing and research teams discovered that people often used their smartphones to log into meetings while in their cars.  As a result, the focus became about creating UI elements that are larger and more readable, especially the audio control buttons. By developing an easily accessible, simplified three-tab design, users can then quickly tap the functions required. This text and interface re-design also benefitted stationary users, as they too typically do not hold their smartphones while in a meeting; as the device is usually on a table.

Only by working on the UI, will the user experience be improved as a result.  Enterprise-wide adoption will increase, which will in turn deliver a more positive ROI. Collaboration tools must be easily navigable, relevant and aesthetically pleasing, and when aligned with team behaviours and preferences, employee engagement and individual efficiency will increase.  This in turn saves time and drives up overall business productivity.


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