RingCentral Q&A: Collaborate and Communicate

Voice communication is an essential part of a collaborative company

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How would you define collaboration in one sentence?

Collaboration has become a critical component in the modern workplace with a view to breaking down silos between departments, business units, internal and external stakeholders resulting in teams working in concert, sharing ideas, content and tracking project progress.

How important is effective communication to modern business success?

The new norm in today's modern workplace consists of remote employees, international team members, to name but a few. As a result, the ability to communicate and collaborate at any time, from any device is a key requirement to keeping today's high paced environments productive and connected. In the past, remote and/or offshore teams were very much out of touch with their core teams thus creating a breakdown in communication and deliverables; today's employees are demanding tools to enable them to work with colleagues irrespective of time zone or location.

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

The value of a truly great communications solution is that it can deliver a localised experience so that everyone on your team feels like they are operating from one place. Along with collaboration between people on your team, the right solution will make it easy to switch between talking, video, texting, rich media messaging and social sharing so that your team can communicate with the tools that they want to use.

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

Your employees will find the tools they want to use with or without input from the business. The risk you take by letting employees choose their own means of communications, is that the business will have no control over data that is being used and shared and valuable company information being placed on personal devices. Security and control are the main risks of not implementing a solution that the company controls.

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

One of the hottest trends in collaboration today is team messaging or 'workstream communication and collaboration.' RingCentral lives and breathes its team collaboration solution, Glip, which is a unified client platform, mends together team messaging, voice, video calling and file sharing. This is turning out to be the stickiest alternative to email the workplace has ever seen.

What words of advice would you give to others embarking on their collaboration journey?

Once a workstream communication habit is established, it becomes much easier to layer other, richer collaboration activities on top, such as sharing files, sending tasks, calendaring events, sharing notes or launching online meetings. All of these tools enable a team to work more productively and effectively.

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?

IT leaders have many demands on their time and attention, and it's easy for them to get wrapped up in incremental improvements rather than a more ambitious digital workplace transformation. However, with today's cloud technologies and web APIs, we can solve problems more simply by choosing the best digital workplace technologies and combining them in clever ways. Everyone from the IT manager to the key stakeholders use the communication system that is chosen, so more important than who makes the final decision is that they person calling the shots understands and appreciates the collaborative process, and that they have a high comfort level with the multimodal communications that enable a mobile, distributed and collaborative workforce.

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How important are partners and technical innovation when it comes to successful collaboration?

To quote Marc Benioff, "Speed is the new currency of business." And one very important element of business is innovation. A great many organisations operating today tout innovation as the attribute that sets them apart and drives growth for their customers. But the reality is that innovation is table stakes for most every company; the real differentiator is how rapidly they can innovate. In order to be successful in collaboration, you have to keep your foot on the gas and constantly be looking for the next tool that will set you apart.

Where do you see the market and adoption of communication and collaboration tools headed? And why?

Integration is the theme in the next generation of communication and collaboration platforms, and adoption will be driven out of necessity. In order for products to stay competitive they must also learn to work together. As a hub for integrations, a team platform can provide users with a central command centre for getting work done, gathering reports from and issuing commands to other applications.

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

In the world of technology, five or 10 years feels like a lifetime. That being said, we are confident that the next few years will see adoption of automated technologies such as Chatbots, within collaborative environments. Computer understanding of human language has become good enough that simply asking for what we want can be the new user interface. For example, if oncologists are collaborating about a tough cancer case, the chatbot might interrupt to say, "Yes, but have you seen this paper?" - and provide a link to the research about a promising new treatment.

Why should people attend our collaboration event? What made you want to be involved?

The Collaborate and Communicate event is an opportunity for business and IT leaders to come together to learn from their peers about today's best practices and tomorrow's innovation with a view to implementing strategy and solutions to enable the modern, mobile workforce. This event is perfect for any business already on their collaboration and communication journey as well as for those in the early stages of formulating a strategy.

Since 2003, RingCentral has pioneered new ways of working through our own communication and collaboration solutions, across 350,000 global businesses. Our participation in this event is an exciting one as we feel there was a natural fit with the goals and objectives of the participants. Our sponsorship is a reflection of our dedication and leadership in this space.

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