The Naked Truth About Why Collaboration Solutions Fail

Good team work yields positive results in any type of organization, but it’s easier said than done, unfortunately. While technology lets us do pretty much anything these days, we often fail to make proper use of the ingeniously-crafted tools around us.

One such example is team collaboration and the solutions design to assist this process. More often than not they fail to spur productivity when implemented without notice or training, and worse still – before any research has been done about the company’s actual need for these tools. This was the key finding in a study conducted by Softchoice on firms where the managers failed to understand unified communications (UC) and collaboration tools.

The poll was carried out on 250 IT managers and 750 line-of-business employees to determine the impact of typical UC and collaboration rollouts on employee habits, preferences and overall satisfaction at the workplace. One of the first things the survey managed to uncover was that many IT managers are actually hesitant to invest in new collaboration technology because, as they put it, the ones they already have implemented are not being used.

Adding insult to injury, the companies that did provide things like video conferencing, screen sharing, teleconferencing, and instant messaging reported very low adoption rates. As little as 5% of the staffers managed to understand and / or leverage video conferencing in the workplace. Screen sharing had a similarly low impact – just 8% viewed it as able to boost productivity in any way. Yet real life scenarios have shown that when you share your screen with people in your team, you get a massive leg up in communication and comprehension.


Working some communication magic with Hubgets, our new team collaboration platform

It’s the managers who fail to understand, not the employees

When IT implements a new communications tool, there are 5 reasons why employees will use it:

  • it visibly improves productivity
  • it’s intuitive and user friendly
  • it serves a plurality of purposes
  • it works with their cell phone
  • it lets them take their work outside the office

There are also 3 reasons why they won’t use it:

  • it doesn’t work as intended (i.e. the system is faulty or not suited for their line of work)
  • it ultimately doesn’t make them more productive (for one reason or another)
  • they already have too many tools to choose from.

Those magical 5 bullet points at the top are the very essence of UC&C, and employees everywhere seem to understand this very well. Their managers however, are a bit in the dark. Which leads to the workers’ inability to produce positive results using their new toys, because:

  • 1 in 3 employees say they don’t receive training
  • of those that do, one in two get poor training (less than 30 minutes)
  • 71% say they use half of the features at most

As many as 38% of those surveyed said they had access to various communication tools in their organization but didn’t know how to use them, and thus were reluctant to do so. The surveyors again learned that employees who were not actively consulted on the rollout were twice as likely to be dissatisfied at work, three times more likely to consider leaving / see themselves fired in the near future, and 18% more likely to require troubleshooting.

This, as opposed to those who were briefed on the deployment: 18% more likely to feel the tool yields positive work results; 23% more likely to be satisfied in their current job; 26% more likely to feel that the manager understood their needs.

UC doesn’t make friends with IT managers and meetings

Despite acknowledging the endless benefits of UC&C post-implementation, 44% of IT managers find it difficult to install the new tech, with 4 in 5 claiming that 25% of their calls to the vendor are related to malfunctions. More than half prefer to seek the help of a third party solutions provider without even attempting to get a hands on experience – for fear of messing something up. Only 11% plan to integrate voice, video & data in one solution, which sadly reflects the current state of affairs in UC adoption today.

Another interesting finding was that introducing these collaboration technologies to meetings actually caused more harm than good. Apparently all UC does in meetings is affect the participants’ attention span. This while 3 quarters of the subjects confessed that they preferred face-to-face meetings to set goals, discuss operations and results, etc.

Meetings are so last century – study shows that collaboration tools are taking over in a big way, rendering tiresome convocations obsoleteGeneration-wise, it was found that old-timers were the most distracted by collaboration gadgets, while the younger demographic was more likely to bring communications tools to meetings. Millenials are also more likely to know how to use at least half of a communication tool’s features, and say that these tools make them more productive, according to the study.

Out of office, 49% of employees said they put in more than 5 hours (mostly beyond business hours). Most IT managers (85%) said they maintained communications tools outside office hours, while many of them also see these platforms as capable of posing security risks. If you ask us, the naked truth is that UC is as safe as you make it.

How to achieve a successful implementation in 2 easy steps

To get up and running with any new communication / team collaboration tool, you first need to look at your company’s culture, employee work habits, and their productivity needs. Once the tools are deployed, the second (and final step) is to teach the staff what to use them for, and most importantly – how.

“Unified communications and collaboration tools have the power to accelerate productivity, bring people together and increase employee engagement. However, most UC implementations fail because employees are left out of the process,” the company says.

Find the full Softchoice report attached in the Slideshare below. Also, if you’re in the same boat, don’t hesitate to share this story with your boss 😉

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