IT organizations are well versed on the need to align UC technology with business strategy. For years, CIOs have been vying for a seat at the executive table with varying degrees of success. Now, it seems, the moment of truth has come. As companies undergo – or attempt to undergo – a digital transformation, they’re discovering that a lack of collaboration between IT and the business is proving to be detrimental to their efforts.
As part of its 2017 Global Digital IQ Survey, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) asked more than 2,000 business and IT leaders what hinders digital transformation. The No. 1 answer, with 64% of the vote, was “a lack of collaboration between IT and business.” This should be a huge red flag for companies as they collectively spend $1.2 trillion on digital transformation technologies in 2017, as estimated by IDC.
Other challenges that hinder digital transformation, as identified in the PwC survey, include inflexible or slow processes (58%), lack of integration of new and existing technologies (41%), outdated technologies (38%), and a lack of properly skilled teams (37%).
To address these challenges, PwC advises companies to “create an environment conducive to learning and collaboration.” In other words, it’s time to get your IT professionals out of the data center and into the workspace .
“Rather than encourage people to work in isolation or with only their peer groups, enable a cross-section of specialists to be in close virtual or physical proximity to each other. This approach helps you develop a common working language that facilitates the seamless collaboration and increased efficiency vital to moving at the speed of technology,” write PwC’s analysts.
It may not always be possible to physically relocate IT staff members. When you’re dealing with distributed teams – be it your own or another department’s – defy the distance between individuals with a video conferencing solution. With the click of a button, IT and business professionals can meet one-on-one or as a group to discuss how, for example, digitally connected products and services can improve operational efficiencies or enable an omnichannel customer experience. The ability to see each other face-to-face can help everyone overcome communication barriers and develop a common working language – critical for improving collaboration.
“When they speak a common working language, deep specialists across the organization – lawyers, marketers, designers, programmers – can harness the power of perspective to get a firmer grasp on what their colleagues are saying and on what the business is asking for,” reports PwC.
Executive education is also advised by PwC. “Company leaders must understand and engage with digital technology to see how it could help or hurt the business, including how it affects the employee and customer experiences,” write the report authors.
Consider video conferencing as an example. Executives are no doubt familiar with free and consumer-grade video solutions that deliver poor video quality, are unreliable, or require plugin updates each time they attempt to join a call. IT leaders should encourage executives to think about employees and customers having these same experiences, and present executives with enterprise-grade alternatives that are user-friendly and integrated with existing, widely-adopted technologies (like Microsoft Outlook) so that they are naturally incorporated into existing workflows.
PwC also recommends training the workforce both in technology and “in disciplines outside their own, as well as in skills that can support innovation and collaboration, such as agile approaches or design thinking.”
Implementing technology that is designed with user experience in mind is key to enabling adoption, but user experience is only relevant when the technology solves a problem that is native to the way the business function or team is working. If content sharing is at the center of many marketing meetings, for example, a solution like Polycom Pano can make it beyond simple for up to four people to walk into a room and simultaneously share content on the screen. When IT understands the use cases most prevalent in the business, they can select the technology that will have the biggest positive impact on organizational objectives.
Digital transformation is increasingly viewed as a requirement for companies that want to compete in today’s business climate. But IT can’t facilitate a digital transformation without the business, and the business can’t achieve a digital transformation without IT. The two must collaborate, and a reliable video conferencing solution can help.