Collaborate & Communicate 2017: RingCentral Q&A

VP of operations Curtis Peterson tells us why communication is central to success

How would you define collaboration in one sentence?

Collaboration is the organisation of disparate human intelligence into a coordinated purpose, whose sum is greater than the parts.

How important is effective communication to modern business success?

Communication has always been a fundamental basis for effective business management, however in today's ever faster-changing world, businesses that can communicate quickly and more thoroughly are the only businesses that can maintain the pace of change required to compete.

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What are the key benefits of having the right collaboration and communication strategy in place and acting upon it?

The benefits are like a rowing team with a good coxswain. Most employees know how to do their jobs, but coordinating efforts, changing business direction, and maintaining unity are key success factors for the modern business. Collaboration and communication become foundational pieces of a highly effective organisation - finding the right ones, and implementing correctly, can materially improve a business.

Conversely, what are the downsides of not getting this right?

Businesses that fail to provide their employees with a well-defined set of C&C tools will find that groups of employees will implement tools in silos anyway. These silos will be difficult to maintain, and will be the opposite of unified. Ultimately, conflict will arise when different teams bring disparate tools to the same projects and attempt to coordinate their communications and collaboration using multiple systems and methods.

What are companies currently doing well when it comes to collaboration and communication? How is your company a good example here?

Businesses that are succeeding here are fostering an environment of collaboration and communication - the first and most important thing. Then they enable this C&C through a unified system that can bring multiple communication styles and modes into one location, removing the friction and objections from the individual, to achieve collaboration of the many.

Is there anything you would change about your collaboration strategy if you did it all again? What words of advice would you give to others embarking on their collaboration journey?

If we were do it again, we would do it even faster. My advice is to act quickly and move your strategy forward.

Who in the organisation should be taking the lead when it comes to choosing the right tools and implementing them successfully? Is it the IT manager/CIO/CTO, business department head, HR or a combination of key stakeholders?

In today's world where unemployment is low, and technology is democratised, the user is control of the actual process. A combination of key stakeholders, with IT there to guide through compliance and long term viability, can provide a platform to the users, but ultimately the system that is built around a user, not catering to the company or to IT or to department, will be the product that is most successful.

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Where do you see the market and adoption of communication and collaboration tools headed? What innovation do you think is on the horizon or, indeed, much needed?

We see rapid growth in this area, as our business of providing this technology is growing far ahead of GDP at greater than 30% year-on-year. Innovation we see on the horizon are paths of consistent usability improvements as we all exercise the muscles of collaboration, the integration of collaboration and communication to business process and workforce automation and efficiency, and ultimately the augmentation of AI to streamline the entire collaboration flow.

What will successful corporate collaboration and communication look like five or 10 years from now?

Seamless. It will look as if it always belonged there and is indeed everywhere. Employees will be able to work from anywhere, at anytime, on any device. Globalisation will be an opportunity and not a threat.

Why should people attend our collaboration event to hear you speak?

I have deployed and operated some of the largest business communications platforms in the world. My current company, RingCentral, is considered the largest, and fastest-growing pure play in cloud unified comms and collaboration.

Is there anything else you would like to add on this topic?

As much as the technology is important, this is really about people. We must start with the people in mind first, and then wrap them in technology that attracts them to use.

Picture: RingCentral

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