Attention Leaders: Today’s Teams Need New Tools

February 6, 2017 - 4 Comments

As Gartner puts it “The journey to digital business is a team sport.” The days when people worked heads-down in cubes by themselves is quickly giving way to a more interactive business world. Teamwork is more relevant – and prevalent – than ever before. And it extends beyond employees and the walls of the organization to partners, customers, and more.

This is one place where executives and employees agree. Digital technology makes the difference. In fact, 88% of CEOs believe digital technologies are creating high value in operational efficiency. Meanwhile, 91% of employees believe digital technology can transform the way they work for the better.

So how do you find the right technology to support that shift? First, it’s important to find out two things:

#1. What do people need? Harvard Business Review Analytic Services (HBRAS) recently asked executives to identify the top aspects of collaboration that support business success. The top three responses were effective team communication (72%); collaborating with partners, customers, and experts (68%); and the ability to find experts and information quickly (56%).

Aspects of collaboration that drive business success

#2. What gets in the way? Finding the right tools to meet these needs hasn’t been easy. Or an application doesn’t deliver on its promise when you put it in the hands of employees. Why? Many times it’s a matter of simplicity. Or the lack of it. HBRAS researchers asked executives to identify where typical collaboration tools fail:

    • 44% — Used too little by employees
    • 38% — Not integrated with other business processes, or overly siloed
    • 35% — Not aligned with user workstyles/ preferences

Cisco designed Cisco Spark to address the things that get in the way. It’s designed to make these issues disappear. That’s a good thing. It means teams can focus on what they’re doing, not the tools they’re using to do it. Integrate Cisco Spark with your existing tools and the way people actually work. Use bots to help automate your work. Help bring teams together. It’s not about telling employees to adapt a whole new paradigm. It’s about giving them tools to simplify the way they interact and move work forward.

It’s having everything you need in one place wherever you are:

  • Meetings
  • Messaging and content sharing
  • Calling
  • White boarding

At the end of the day, you’re giving people what they need. New tools can spark new ways of working together. And new ways of working together can help stimulate new ideas. And that’s what teamwork and innovation are all about.

Free Trial
Cisco Spark Plus is a business messaging app, conferencing solution, and phone system all in one. Learn how a free trial of Cisco Spark Plus can help you explore more about how teamwork is changing – and what you can do to stay ahead.


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Harvard Business Review Analytic Services surveyed 300+ worldwide execs, revealing teams are paramount to business success.
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  1. I suspect the other 56% could not tell if the tools where being used or not. We still see the majority if not all of the budget in selection and implementation of a solution and very little if anything invested in promoting and assisting the users with the use of the solution. The component of the collaboration solution life-cycle is the only component that can yield a return. No Use = No return.

    • One thing I’ve seen again and again is that an organization will bring in a new tool — the magic tool that will fix everything. And then, say “OK, use it!” As the other responses in the study support, there’s more to implementing a tool than plugging it in. When it comes to collaboration, it’s about supporting a collaborative culture — integrating the tools into the way people work, what they need to do. And, as a leader, leading by example in using the tools instead of just paying for them.

      • I agree Kim. New tech or tools are thrown in all the time, only to languish on the island of misfit toys. If only someone could match the tools with the right users, everyone would be so happy. I am facing this dilemma now. I would love to purchase the cool and shiny new Spark Board and Spark collaboration, but we already use collaboration tools. The cost of change would be incredibly high. We are looking for a new conferencing tool, so WebEx may be our starting place. $6k for a Spark board with licensing is stupid expensive when compared to other smart board systems.

        • Great input, Peter. I understand your dilemma and would be happy to talk with you more. Starting with WebEx is a great first step. And, on the Cisco Spark Service roadmap is the ability for WebEx participants to join meetings with the Cisco Spark Board for the best experience. Your users will also be able to securely collaborate and share whiteboards by using the Cisco Spark application.