Why the human element should be at the core of your UC&C strategy
Author: Harry Chapman, Portfolio Development Director, UC EXPO
Jeremy Clarkson once said “The weak point of the modern car is the squidgy organic bit behind the wheel. Me, basically.” The human element is quickly becoming the critical part of any UC&C transformation strategy. The user has the opportunity to make or break technology rollouts and while sometimes seen as a weakness, can also be a valuable strength.
The focus on people has only grown in the past year. In fact, when we asked our audience to pick out their three biggest UC&C challenges, Health and Wellbeing came top of the list, nearly 25% ahead of the next biggest concern (what collaboration software to use).
Technology teams need to spend time engaging with the people in the businesses to understand their needs, wants, concerns and everything in between. Through our conversations with end users of UC&C services, we’ve found that this can be done by a number of methods.
The first is engaging effectively with your employees to better understand them. Many businesses use surveys to understand what employees want from their remote working technology or future office. Some of the best examples, that take this concept a step further, include business unit champions who not only actively support technology roll outs, but continually feedback to the IT teams about user needs. After all, there is never a substitute for talking to your colleagues.
Second is creating a bridging role within key business units between the IT team and end users. We have seen these roles increasing, with the creation of positions such as business analyst or transformation managers, where part of their responsibility is to engage with or be embedded in key business units. These people can play the part of ‘translator’ between tech teams and non-techy end users.
The third method is utilising data analytics on how your organisation currently engages with UC&C technology to spot trends and address them in real time. For example, a large law firm recently told us that their Teams stats show a huge drop in the use of video in 2021. While recent statistics from Microsoft show the serious problem of people messaging in after work hours during the pandemic (a 69% increase over the past year).
The critical task ahead is actually acting on this information and deciding what is best for your organisation. We have seen examples of meeting-free days across a company or a ‘cameras off’ culture to avoid the inevitable video fatigue. Planning the future of the office around your employees wants and needs is not easy. NTT has done a great job with this recently by signing a contract with IWG (a WeWork competitor) which will allow their employees to work from a variety of locations. This is easier said than done though as it involves overcoming many biases and cultural views about the role of the office. Some leaders have praised a work from anywhere world, but others are against the idea long-term. Recently, the Goldman Sachs CEO even referred to work from home an ‘aberration’.
Ultimately, the companies that focus on their users are the ones that will have the happiest employees, attract the best talent and therefore make the most money in years to come.
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