The ability to seamlessly collaborate with external people and businesses will drive real benefits.
There’s a word missing from the English language. What is the name of that moment, which occurs in every work day, where you have to stop working on one thing, even though it’s not yet finished, and start working on another, because you can’t get hold of the person you need?
I’ve seen it called “human latency” – a bit pompous perhaps, but it’s real, and it happens at all levels of an organisation, all of the time. In an age where we aspire to be agile, flexible and reactive, it just gets in the way of getting stuff done.
Within an organisation, Unified Communications (UC) goes some way to fixing this – if I can see at a glance who is available via presence, I can talk to the right person straightaway, and continue on with the job in hand.
But we no longer work in isolated organisations – our teams include co-workers, certainly, but also customers, suppliers and partners. How can we work more effectively with those people too?
This is where federation really helps. Being able to see at a glance if someone who works in a different company is available – that’s a true boon. Let me give you a practical example to highlight this.
Last week, we were working on a particular customer’s project, putting together a technical design to meet some very demanding requirements they had around PCI-DSS compliance. We needed to find a way of demonstrating that our design would meet their requirements – and to do that, we had to build it and show them.
Because we are federated with a large number of our key suppliers and customers, we were able within 20 minutes to identify the product we needed to use (using Instant Messaging with the pre-sales consultant), find out whether we could get hold of a demonstration product (call with one of our suppliers), arrange for it to be shipped to one of our offices (email), and ensure that the engineers and logistics people knew when it would arrive (multi-party Instant Messaging), and knew how to configure it (video conference with document sharing). We were then able to co-ordinate with the customer and make sure that the demonstration met all their needs (audio conference). This ability to understand the availability of key people across multiple organisations and also understand the best way to contact them was essential to quickly executing this important project.
A day later, we demonstrated the solution, the customer was happy with it, and we are a step closer to delivering something that will make a real difference to their business.
None of this could have been achieved so quickly without UC and federation.
To me, being able to act that quickly gives us a huge competitive advantage: it’s a really good reason for customers to use Maintel.
And if it’s a competitive advantage for us, just think what it could do for you.