So Just What Is A Collaborative Conversation?

From smartphones to tablets, employees expect to be able to bring their own devices (the growth of BYOD) to work and be able to use them alongside traditional laptops and desk phones. With this inevitable consumerisation of the enterprise, it’s critical that enterprises deliver the same employee experience regardless of which device is chosen.

And it’s more than this – with the inevitability of BYOD comes the expectation to be able to use it anywhere and anytime, with all the complications of compatibility, access, security…..and collaboration.

The changing conversation

Traditionally, people work with colleagues via one-on-one single media, real-time interactions – mostly in-person, by telephone, through room-to-room video, or pre-scheduled meeting rooms, which is often extremely cumbersome and time intensive. Even in today’s mobile, global business environment, multi-party conference calls (video or voice) still follow this traditional meeting model.

But according to research conducted by Forrester, only 29 percent of Gen Y workers think meetings to decide on a course of action are very efficient.

Indeed, the scheduled, meeting-centric approach to business collaboration can stifle spur-of-the-moment collaboration and innovation, and violates the ‘real-time’ nature of social interactions that employees are accustomed to as consumers.

Enterprise business communication needs far exceed the capabilities of one-to-one telephony, scheduled room-based video conference calls and email. If businesses are to build engaged, responsive employees they must exploit the many options available in the consumer space – collaborative video available at the click of a button with data and web sharing capabilities, social media enabled collaboration and mobility – and provide them with the optimal communications environment across the enterprise, enabling them to share and work at the speed of ideas.

Many people are involved in most important decision processes, often across organisations, and employees need the tools and the ability to help them collaborate to make such decisions quickly – technology cannot be the limiter.

The collaborative conversation – its outcome driven

There are solutions out there that support multi-party, multi-device, and multi-media conversations for enterprises. Employees can truly have a conversation that supports real-time, native, multi-party multimedia conferencing capabilities with the ability to expand from a one-on-one to a group conversation in much the same way that someone might confer with a colleague in a nearby office in real-time, and from one device to another, while adding or removing collaborators as the need arises and wherever they are.

In this way, for example, a conversation between George and Janice to discuss a problem can be joined spontaneously by Peter and Sue in the same location. They include Ann in another company through her central exchange and are later joined by Dieter on his cell phone on site from India.

They use their central communications system to exchange data as they collaborate, and participants can drop out when they have made their contributions. And it’s not just through a voice system – George could easily decide to enable multimedia within the conversation, including video, to add context to their conversation. Welcome to the 21st Century.

Enterprises immediately benefit from more meaningful, outcome-driven communications that maximise resources, foster innovation and consequently reduce operational cost. The result? A truly collaborative conversation.

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Manish Sablok is Head of Marketing for Central North and East (CNE) Europe at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. Manish has been at Alcatel-Lucent for 8 years, and before his appointment for the new Enterprise group he was Solutions Marketing Director for Unified Communications (UC) with a worldwide remit. Manish has a strong background in communications infrastructure, having been at Avaya for 5 years as Product Marketing Manager for South Asia and before that was Global Account and Channel Sales Manager at Siemens.