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Are real-time collaboration tools necessary for enterprises?

Real-time collaboration has become a business requirement to support new ways of working. Expert Jon Arnold explains the importance of real-time collaboration tools in the enterprise.

Today's work environment is in the early stage of a transformation driven by communication-related technology....

We're well beyond a world where employees are deskbound, tethered by their phones and PCs. In that old environment, collaboration was a phone call or a few email messages away, and most employees were relatively close to each other.

Now, two trends have spurred virtual organizations, distributed workplaces and the need for real-time collaboration tools. First is management's desire to leverage IP-based technologies for decentralized growth. This is very attractive for reducing operational expenses and to better serve a global customer base.

Second is the advent of mobile broadband and smartphones. While this trend is driven by the consumer space, it has extended the always-on world to the workplace. This has led to unintended consequences where employees now work longer and harder than ever before.

Because of these trends, team members are less likely to collaborate in person. Employees are rarely in the same place anymore and are often in transit when needed for meetings.

Even when employees are in close proximity, it's not always convenient to meet in person. Of course, they can get work done over the phone or with near real-time applications like email or IM. But the speed of business now dictates the need for real-time collaboration tools. Never before has the need for real-time collaboration tools and conferencing applications been greater.

Never before has the need for real-time collaboration tools and conferencing applications been greater.

Moreover, cloud-based offerings are cost-effective and have powerful capabilities that go well beyond communication. UC as a service (UCaaS) platforms are increasingly tied into workflows to make business processes more effective, and that makes collaboration more productive with less effort.

Real-time collaboration offerings are getting better all the time, and while enterprises can keep using legacy tools, they simply won't get the job done fast enough with today's dispersed workforce. UCaaS offerings have been developed specifically to make real-time collaboration easier, and if that's what your competitors are using, it won't be long until your customers notice.

By the time you notice, it might be too late. But the good news is it won't take long to deploy UCaaS and keep pace with the competition.

Do you have a question for Jon Arnold or any other experts? Ask your enterprise-specific questions today! (All questions are treated anonymously.)

Next Steps

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This was last published in April 2016

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Understanding real-time collaboration tools for business

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How could UC as a service offerings support real-time communication in your organization?
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In addition to real-time collaboration, the tools also need to support data persistence. That’s one problem that I’ve seen with using Skype for Business - other than saving a copy of an IM conversation, there’s no real persistence of the conversation like there is with Slack and other tools.
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