By John Newton
The workplace is constantly evolving due to both the proliferation of technology and the increasingly digital workforce. Organizations must address the varying expectations of a multigenerational workforce, including the role of technology, organizational culture, and their ability to do their job and grow their career. People’s work styles have always differed, but that is even more pronounced today. Workers not only bring their own devices and applications into the work environment, they bring their preferences on when, where, and how they best work.
Similar to today’s worker, companies around the world also differ; they have different standards, requirements, or operational philosophies for how, when, and where information is shared and accessed. Organizations are also continually expanding with mobile workers, remote contractors, and other external stakeholders, creating organizational and technological silos. Organizations want to have the most connected and modern solutions to maximize efficiency and productivity and to stay agile and competitive in their respective markets, but budgets and policies don’t always support that.
Simultaneously, it is becoming more important for enterprises to deliver a consistent customer experience. Today’s customer is better informed, more ingrained with brands, and expects a superior customer experience. They want integrated, contextual, multi-channel access to transactions, content, collaboration, communications, and actionable insights to deliver higher business performance.
Integration is Key
To meet all of these demands in the modern workplace, organizations must create lean business processes and a seamless customer experience by integrating applications, technologies, and processes. Sounds easy enough, right? But exactly how does an enterprise accelerate collaboration through integration?
Stay up to date with technology. This may seem obvious, but most organizations end up playing catch up when it comes to their technology infrastructure. IT should lead innovation within organizations, not just keep up with the pace of the users. Integration helps organizations stay ahead of the curve. With integrated technology platforms the list of partner technologies grows daily and platforms are automatically updated on a regular basis.
Embrace users, their devices, and the way they like to work. This used to be the enemy of IT, but enterprises that can find a way to embrace worker differences will increase user adoption, worker satisfaction, and ultimately, productivity. Integration allows them to do this without completely surrendering control. Adopt platforms built on open standards that allow employees, customer, and other users to interact with them in whatever application and on whatever device they use to get their work done.
Break organizational silos. Following along the previous line of thought, implement tools that are open source so that teams can work together while still working with different solutions. These integrated, open source solutions ensure that your sales management tool connects to your customer relationship management tool, which connects to your content management tool, and so on and so forth. Organizations need to embrace these differences and adopt the tools that workers need, but ensure they can connect with each other.
Meet customers where they are. Apply the same train of thought to your customers. Gone are the days when customers issued one contract to one vendor to meet all of their collaboration needs. Vendors now recognize that different teams need different tools to do their jobs most effectively. Integration allows you to partner with the organizations that you know your customers are working with, so that working with you becomes easier.
Connect internal with external. Bridging the flow of information between internal and external audiences creates attractive value-adds for businesses. The rules are the same, but instead of thinking differently of customers than of employees, recognize that both sets of users have the same preferences and challenges, and both need to communicate with each other. Integration allows you to take the same approach that you do to ensure that employees can collaborate with each other to increase collaboration between employees and customers.
By recognizing and accepting the differences in different companies, employees, and technologies, an integrated enterprise creates a better, more productive, and more successful work environment. It helps companies and employees spend less time on technology-related activities, giving them more time to spend on important business functions like internal collaboration or face-to-face customer interaction.
Integration creates a smarter, more connected workforce, with increased mindshare and employee retention, as well as a more streamlined customer experience. Integration raises the bar across the industry and demonstrates commitment to providing a better alternative to legacy approaches to how content and processes need to be managed in today’s business environment.SW
John Newton is CTO, founder and chairman of Alfresco, a provider of modern enterprise content management and business process management software. He has had one of the longest and most influential careers in content management; he co-founded Documentum and built its marketing and professional services organizations in Europe, invented many of the concepts widely used in the industry today, served as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Benchmark Capital and was one of the founding engineers at Ingres. Follow John @johnnewton.
Apr2016, Software Magazine