"Why won't it just work"?

Matt Kirby Sep 25 2019

Workforce Productivity Improvement

Three words that drive business leaders seeking to gain an edge over the competition.

Three words that drive new investment in collaboration technologies.

“We’ll get more done, for less – faster,” means better company performance and returns on investment.

In theory, this makes eminent sense. In practice, it’s a very different story.

The blame game

There’s a lot of hype and expectation around new technology spending, and yet many organisations would concede the user experience new investments drive can be average at best.  Many others are unsure even how to make tangible improvements.

The temptation can be to play the blame game.  After all, if you’ve equipped your people with the latest technologies, the productivity gains should follow.

So why aren’t they?

There are three key factors, which if not appropriately considered, can negatively impact a company seeking to improve productivity through collaboration – its users, the technology it chooses and the deployment itself.

Not everyone using this stuff is a techie. Some people just don’t get “new”.

Everyday users often find new technology complicated to use, so they get poor user experience.

The natural reaction of the user is to revert to known, “safe” alternatives. So people continue travelling to meetings, or pick up the phone.

Users can be very quick to judge and lay blame. We often hear comments such as “It doesn’t work” or “I don’t like it” when speaking to clients where collaboration projects have failed.

Another less considered dynamic is that some people aren’t very good at being collaborative. Or, they won’t invest the time needed to understand the benefits of technology. It’s an attitudinal factor.

The definition of collaboration is the “process of two or more people or organisations working together to complete a task or achieve a goal.” Nobody ever said, “collaboration is the process of technology making two or more people work better together”.

People need to practice being collaborative, working together and communicating. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone.

And finally, even the best technology, when poorly delivered will not inspire a user to invest their discretionary effort which is essential to fully understand the benefits.

Technology is important, but not everything

To encourage users to invest their time to understand a new product, they need to have some sense that what they’re putting in will be returned in time. If not, they’ll quickly decide the outcome is not worth the effort.

This is where many company’s and to some degree technology vendors have failed previously.  Too much emphasis is placed on technology alone being the cure of all issues.  The existing infrastructure, specific user needs and the environment within which the solution are critical.

So the right technology and user mindset are essential. But this needs to be combined with a focus on:

  • tailoring services to requirements
  • attention to detail when deploying
  • taking stakeholders with you

Only an experienced practitioner can bring all the elements of consultancy, product, deployment and adoption together as one service.

About the author

Matt Kirby is Managing Director of Enablit – a collaboration practice with over 12 years’ experience integrating, configuring and managing Microsoft voice, meetings and contact centre solutions within organisations.