By Paul Bender, Global Public Sector Marketing
Where to start
Many federal agencies are now looking at home working to save money, ensure continuity of operations during regional and national emergencies, and to provide a more citizen-friendly extended hours service. While this raises undoubted technical and operational considerations – not least the adoption of new approaches to training and evaluation – Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data certainly points to the improved performance and greater productivity of teleworkers.
What’s more, federal IT leaders need to respond to the demands of today’s mobile-first employees with BYOD policies that allow young professionals to work on the device of their choice. Whether in the office – or on the go – today’s workers increasingly expect to connect with people, files and workflow tools securely, from anywhere and on any device. And, as real estate rationalization begins to take hold, a growing percentage of federal employees will be working outside the traditional office environment.
In this brave new world, enabling a reliable and resilient voice infrastructure is just the start. With more and more teams working virtually, accelerating productivity means real-time communication and collaboration – via any channel – will become critical.
Delivering against this broad set of requirements, the direction of travel is, of course, towards an enterprise web-based team communication and collaboration cloud service.
The value of real-time online collaboration
Today’s workforce doesn’t want to have to start or restart online conference sessions or waste time organizing all their emails, documents, conferences, messages and project notes. They want to collaborate, in real-time, with colleagues and partners, wherever they may be. For them, working at home or in a satellite office or remotely shouldn’t mean being isolated or disconnected from the information and tools they need to be productive – or being unable to contribute to and participate with the extended teams they are part of.
Unfortunately, traditional approaches that rely on multiple fragmented tools, information silos and disconnected systems get in the way of these aspirations – making it difficult to bring virtual teams together, across any network or device. It’s frustrating and overwhelming for workers, who want a better way to communicate and collaborate.
But as enterprise communications become more software-centric and open – and mobility becomes more important in the workplace – the integration of communications and business applications and processes is becoming more and more mainstream.
Federal agencies now need to deliver this converged functionality, supporting the fluid workflows users expect and want – in one tool that supports guest access for citizens and partners and offers a natural user experience.
The good news is that today’s software as a service communication and collaboration solutions deliver all this and more. Easy to deploy and manage, and supporting flexible per-user licensing, it makes the delivery of varied and useful communication and collaboration services a natural evolutionary step.
A none-invasive approach to ubiquitous collaboration
The question for federal IT leaders isn’t whether to enhance their communication and collaboration environments. It is how to deploy a ubiquitous collaboration application across an agency or department – while continuing to leverage the value of existing assets – email clients, communications tools and newer unified collaboration platforms such as Circuit from Unify.
Deciding what becomes the predominant and standard application is a tough decision. A non-invasive approach eliminates the need to choose at all – with solutions available that overlay all the agency’s disparate tools, and bring them together in a single place.
It’s great for users – allowing them to work with existing productivity tools. For agencies, all crucial conversations can be accessed and added to in one umbrella application. From a budget perspective, the ability to sit above (or integrate with) all existing productivity tools eliminates the need to fund costly rip and replace projects.
Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? My next blog will explore how the issues on your agency agenda are solved by Unify’s enterprise WebRTC team communication and collaboration cloud service.