When your tech stack is a hodgepodge of point solutions you've accumulated as needs arise, it's just a matter of time before something goes wrong. It might be because yesterday's solutions don't solve today's problems. It might be that some vendors offer proprietary solutions that don't play well with others. Or it might just be that your IT team has larger strategic priorities and can’t keep up with all the different tools they need to maintain.
Whatever the reason, the more tools you need to manage to keep your business running, the more your productivity and profitability will suffer if one of them fails. That's why so many CIOs are choosing to replace individual communication and collaboration solutions from multiple vendors with a single integrated technology stack from a select set of trusted providers.
In the age of the distributed workforce, consolidation is becoming imperative for communication and collaboration in particular. In a recent survey by Ovum, more than a third of these IT leaders (39%) say they're currently using at least four tools for their communication and collaboration needs, and 8% said they have seven or more. Having multiple vendors and tools drives up costs, makes it difficult to share information between systems, and ultimately decreases business agility – exactly the opposite of what these solutions are intended to achieve.
IT leaders are realizing that they can solve these problems by implementing a unified communication and collaboration (UCC) platform. When asked about their expectations of a consolidated UCC suite, IT leaders reported tangible benefits – such as improved team productivity, lower costs, and easier management and administration – as being top of mind. What's more, about half (49%) of them acknowledge that consolidating communication and collaboration technologies on a single platform is key to getting end users to adopt them successfully.
A single unified UCC solution sounds like a dream come true. Imagine offering telephony, video, screen sharing, chat, and mobile collaboration within a single user experience that scales to meet your company's needs. It’s a great end-goal, but if you’re operating with 10+ collaboration tools now, the transition could be painful. Consolidation should be approached thoughtfully by each company as a part of their own unique digital transformation strategy.
IT leadership will see greater success in consolidation by taking their time, rather than implementing a swift, top-down mandate. Thoughtfully audit the needs of each employee and team and build a plan of incremental changes. Look for quick wins to consolidate similar vendors first that have low active usage or small deployments. Once you’ve narrowed down your stack from 15 to 10 to 5, you can then start to explore the idea of a single solution provider that fits your needs.
When your employees successfully collaborate with each other, partners, and customers at any time, through any channel, everyone is engaged in and satisfied with their interactions. These are the secret ingredients for productivity and, ultimately, growth.
Originally published in August 2019 on CIO.com.
Read the full whitepaper to learn more about driving business growth by consolidating communication and collaboration platforms.