There’s a lot of collaboration technology out there and deciding which technology to invest in can be daunting. How often have you heard of a company making a major investment in technology for it to become “shelfware” and never see deployment? How often have you heard of a company that’s deployed a technology, yet nobody in the company is willing to use it? How often have you heard of a company that has several products from different vendors that do exactly the same thing?
It doesn’t take much to realize that each of these situations has a negative impact and the cause of each situation stem from different reasons, but usually with the best intentions. Shelfware occurs because of undeployed licenses in ELA’s or quantity purchases for better per seat pricing. Unfortunately, the business doesn’t grow and the company is obligated to pay for unused licenses. Other times, a company deploys a product with great features that is too complex or doesn’t integrate well with workflows and remains unused. Lastly, individual departments may make purchase decisions based on their needs without consulting IT or other departments resulting in redundant solutions that compete internally with each other.
In considering collaboration strategy, it is key to consider how employees will use the capabilities you’re looking to deploy and how they’ll be used in everyday workflows. The best way to do this is to model typical “day in the life” scenarios of employees. These are similar to use case scenarios but more extensive in that they follow a role throughout the day – stringing together isolated use cases. In doing this, you often uncover additional requirements. You’ll want to model these “day in the life” scenarios for different departments, such as sales, marketing, and customer service. You’ll see the same technologies such as voice, video, IM, presence, and social being used in each and every one of these workflows.
By modeling several “day in the life” scenarios and how they fit into a comprehensive collaboration architecture, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the requirements of your individual business stakeholders. You can determine horizontal technologies that become the foundation for use case solutions across workflows and departments. The use of horizontal collaboration solutions will help remove the technical silos that are created when departments make independent investments. Knowing which users require certain capabilities will allow you to more accurately account for license requirements and pool across departments for quantity discounts, but also park licenses that aren’t being utilized to reduce support costs. By standardizing on the collaborative technology and solutions that are best for your enterprise needs the complexity of multiple integrations goes away and internal support efforts are reduced.
With greater visibility into collaboration requirements you’re better positioned to demonstrate the business value of the technology investments you’re making. Effectively drawing the line of sight from a budget line item to the business results in the forms of productivity, growth, and innovation. More importantly, you’ll discover how to select and use Cisco products and solutions that deliver greater value to your users as they go through their daily activities.
If you’d like to learn more, I encourage you to watch some visual “day in the life” scenarios as examples. Also, let me know if you’ve taken this approach in your company. If so, then what day in the life scenarios did you model and what role did collaborative technologies play in them.