February 08, 2022

Article
3 min

5 Keys to Modernizing Collaboration

The pandemic made video collaboration table stakes for most organizations. Here’s what comes next.

Marguerite Stevens

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses and other organizations were forced to make extremely quick decisions about how to support nearly all their employees in a remote setting. Some form of video collaboration played a major role in almost all organizations’ work-from-home efforts, and over the past two years, these organizations have come to rely on the technology as a central component of their operations. 

This rush to adopt collaboration tools means that many organizations’ environments were never optimized for cost, efficiency or employee productivity. As companies seek to modernize their collaboration environments, they should consider these five key factors. 

1. Innovation and Integration

Integrating video collaboration platforms with third-party applications is an important step in streamlining the user experience. One example that has popped up over and over again is ServiceNow. Through our managed services, CDW supports organizations’ ServiceNow environments, including making moves, adds, changes and deletes (MACDs) for users. And by integrating several systems into the same ServiceNow environment, we’re able to dramatically simplify the user experience.

2. Multivendor Services

Not only is it common for organizations to support multiple collaboration platforms, it may now be rare for a large company to be running collaboration tools from a single vendor. Some of these multivendor environments are the result of the rapid decision-making necessary in the early days of the pandemic. But in other cases, IT and business leaders have made strategic decisions to support multiple collaboration platforms for different teams or workflows. However they came to be, multivendor environments require an additional level of care and attention. For instance, if a company is using one vendor for phone service and another for its contact center, CDW can provide professional and managed services for both solutions — or even assist with migrating from one to another.

3. Hybrid Environments

It is common for organizations to keep part of their collaboration infrastructure on-premises, while also migrating some resources to the cloud. Many times, this sort of hybrid environment is the result of data safety regulations, especially for organizations in highly regulated fields such as finance, law, education and healthcare. Often, organizations come to us for field services when migrating data from an on-premises environment to a public cloud environment. One issue we see frequently is “dirty” data in an on-premises environment: redundant or disorganized information that is the result of ad hoc MACD processes. We’re able to clean up data stores and prepare them for whichever environment suits an organization’s needs.

4. Tiered Services

When organizations are seeking out services to help them modernize their collaboration environments, it is important that they have flexibility. Some managed services engagements are based solely on seat count, which may force organizations to spend money on services they don’t need. CDW’s engagements, by contrast, are tiered based on service level. An organization that recently lost an engineer might opt for our premium White Glove service. Then, if the company fills that position, leadership might opt to move to an Essential or Basic service package.

5. Cross-Platform Flexibility

Managed services provided by a specific vendor are often best for supporting that vendor’s platform, but for organizations running multiple collaboration solutions, cross-platform flexibility is a must. Most important, a managed services provider such as CDW will focus not only on the technology but on a company’s pain points and desired business outcomes. Ultimately, any effort to modernize collaboration solutions should be focused more on the business outcome than on the solutions.

Story by Marguerite Stevens, who, for over 25 years,  has brought extensive experience with collaboration throughout the industry. She has worked within and across product management and marketing, bringing visibility of customer problems and outcomes.

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