September 06, 2017
Lines of Business and IT Should Collaborate to Ensure Success
By understanding an LOB’s workstyle and business needs, IT can help maximize budgets, increase security and enhance the end-user experience.
What’s the secret to maximizing a digital workspace solution’s ROI and minimizing its total cost of ownership? The IT department must collaborate with each line of business (LOB) to understand its unique business goals and workstyles.
Collaboration solutions illustrate why. Businesses often have a hodgepodge of chat, video, calling and shared platforms from different vendors that operate in silos. That’s because LOBs frequently choose their own tools, sometimes with IT’s blessing and other times without. Either way, this fragmented environment undermines productivity, security and budgets — both for the LOBs and for the business as a whole.
As an example, many LOBs are deploying the Slack messaging app on their own because a business partner or major customer uses it. Suddenly dozens or hundreds of employees are using the app, and at significant cost if an LOB upgrades to the standard or plus tiers. If the IT department had a close working relationship with that LOB, it might have offered Microsoft Teams because the company is already planning to migrate to Office 365.
But would Teams be the best fit for that LOB? To know, the IT department would need to meet with a handful of people from that LOB who can describe how they currently collaborate and where that collaboration could be improved. The IT department could use this input to create personas that represent different types of employees within that LOB.
For instance, the persona Sam Salesman might need only audioconferencing and videoconferencing to interact with customers. But Paula Product-Development might need screen and document sharing, too, because her interactions with colleagues and suppliers frequently involve collaborating on spreadsheets and renderings. Meanwhile, Frank Field-Force needs a solution that has a great mobile app and works well over cellular networks because his workday is spent at customer sites. Armed with this insight, the IT department could identify the right digital workspace tool for each persona.
Working with LOBs also helps identify ways to wring the most out of a budget or ensure regulatory compliance. For example, if the LOB says its workload and workforce will fluctuate significantly over the next few years, the IT department might recommend a hosted version of a collaboration solution because it offers more scalability than on-premises products. Or if sensitive customer data is a concern, it might recommend an on-premises solution because that provides more control over the data, reducing the risk of a data breach and fines.
Finally, IT and LOB teamwork lays the foundation to accurately track a solution’s usage. For example, if fewer employees than expected use videoconferencing, the IT department and the LOB can explore why. Is it because most employees find the user interface too confusing? Or maybe they haven’t had enough training? IT and the LOB wouldn’t be able to identify and fix those problems — and thus, maximize the ROI — if they first hadn’t agreed on what constitutes a successful implementation and how to measure that success.