How Unified Communications Enhances Collaboration Across Continents
In the much loved retro series, ‘Mad Men’, there is a seminal episode where the executives of fictional marketing agency Sterling Cooper are hunched around a single phone to make a collective call from their plush New York boardroom to a new office in Los Angeles. Although there is a comedic dynamic with conversation drop-outs and “I didn’t quite catch that” remarks, this late 60’s scene reflected the introduction of conference calling as a collaboration tool. It seemed after 80 years of ‘binary’ two-way conversations, communication technology had finally evolved to enable group calls where a number of people could participate in a meeting regardless of place. In essence, it was the first collaborative service using shared network resources and was, in many ways, a precursor to cloud services which are now readily available.
The advent of cloud delivered services, applications and software is changing the way SMB and mid-market enterprises can be more effective and efficient. Technologies, that just a few years ago would have been beyond reach, are now obtainable to all sizes of business in a matter of minutes.
Today, the ability to communicate and work collaboratively is available to everyone and no longer the preserve of large enterprises. Fueled by cloud delivery, vital communications are now unified and go beyond voice including instant messaging (IM), presence and web conferences. Under the industry rubric of unified communications (UC), these services can also be accessed via multiple devices such as laptops, smartphones and Apple Watches depending on user preference and context.
ShoreTel Walks the Talk During UK Launch of Connect CLOUD
With the recent launch of ShoreTel Connect CLOUD service in the UK, we went beyond simply promoting this new UC solution to using it to help manage a multi-faceted product rollout. In the months leading up to the February launch, the project team had over 20 core members dispersed across two continents with everyone using Connect to ensure that the effort was kept on track. For my part, I connected to the project meetings via my laptop, my VPN phone at home, with colleagues in our European HQ and even on my iPhone in a coffee shop in the middle of London.
The dynamic is of being ‘there’ regardless of location has meant that we have been using our own UC service to actually launch it! Every member could participate and collaborate in real-time, on-demand and contribute regardless of location rather than travel and physically sit in a meeting. In essence, we’ve become our own case study on how to build a strong internal collaborative team who couldn’t ordinarily justify the time on a purely face-to-face basis without a significant opportunity cost.
The ability with ShoreTel Connect CLOUD to do more and be more efficient for less than the daily price of tall skinny latte means any business can have leading edge communication technologies which support collaboration, productivity and growth.
No doubt this is something that even the creative minds of 1960’s Madison Avenue would have struggled to imagine.