One-Click Collaboration: The Promise Fulfilled
A colleague was telling me about shopping for clothing with his two kids at a retailer styled after an old general store. Memorabilia from the 19th and 20th centuries lay everywhere among the clothes on display. His kids, ages seven and four, ran over to a residential rotary phone from the 60s and yelled “Daddy, what’s THI-IS!” as they played with the heavy old handset and “dialed” the phone.
As I listened, it struck me that my own two young kids might someday have the same reaction to seeing a desktop office phone. Given the recent advances in unified communications and collaboration, those devices could soon be as antiquated as the rotary phone.
Think about how, in just a few years, the world of employee communications and collaboration has changed. Not long ago, we had separate devices for voice calls (desktop or mobile phones), faxes (a box off in the corner), printing (possibly another box off in the corner), emailing and web searches (desktop or laptop), videoconferencing (another room entirely), and the list goes on. Want to call someone? Look them up in your Outlook Contacts, PDA or Rolodex, then dial 10 digits or maybe hit speed-dial. Want to share a document? Email it or overnight it by FedEx. A videoconference? Go down the hall and spend an hour getting set up.
Now, virtually every interaction is just one click away—on whatever device I choose. Want to contact someone? Click on her icon in the directory and IM her to see if she’s available. If so, <click>, moves from IM to a voice or video conversation. Want to add a colleague to the discussion? Drag his icon into the session to invite him to the conversation—”Press 1 if you’d like to join.” Want to work together on a spreadsheet? One click shares it on screen.
You get the point. Today, we’re one click away from the next type of experience, the next action, we want to invoke. We’re at an inflection point in the communications industry where this stuff really does work, whether we’re at our office, at home or traveling. It’s getting easier every day for employees to collaborate with other employees and for consumers to collaborate with companies.
But it doesn’t stop there—communications can now be built right into the apps or cloud services people use every day. Development platforms, like Avaya Breeze™, enable IT staff to easily integrate applications, snap-in new features, and reuse code in a very efficient way to invoke sophisticated capabilities. Non-technical folks can create unique applications that differentiate their business. They can build capabilities from scratch to address unique problems or opportunities that arise.
Desktop phones may soon sit beside rotary phones in an old general store, but I won’t be sad. Today’s one-click world is a whole lot better than party lines and busy signals.
Is your organization using collaboration to its full potential? I’d love to hear from you.