As our world becomes increasingly reliant on digital technology, the way we interact and collaborate with each other has changed dramatically. As a result, today’s businesses, hospitals, universities and other organizations are rapidly adopting collaboration technology that helps enable end users to more easily and more effectively share information, no matter who they are or where they are located.
If you’re new to the pro AV space, collaboration solutions could quickly become your new favorite technology. Start by familiarizing yourself—and your customers—with some of the basics. Here is some valuable introductory information that may help your potential customers identify the types of solutions they need:
What is Collaboration Technology?
Collaboration technology can include many different devices, such as instant messaging and chat, Active Directory, telephone systems, video conferencing, desktop and data sharing, email, certain smartphone and tablet apps, and anything else that helps end users quickly and easily collaborate and share information. These days, collaboration is increasingly remote and flexible, with users expecting to incorporate many different devices into their sharing sessions.
Where Should I Begin?
First and foremost, it’s important to partner with a value-added reseller (VAR) who understands how collaboration solutions can help a business achieve its goals. There are likely several VARs in your area who work with collaboration technology; ask around to see if any of your colleagues have any recommendations.
Next, you should establish some idea of what types of collaboration systems you need. Finding the right technology for your business requires a careful look at the role collaboration plays in your day-to-day operations. Here are just a few of the many uses of collaboration solutions:
1. Time optimization.
Today’s world is increasingly mobile, with more remote workers than ever before. New collaboration technology—such as video conferencing, desktop sharing and smartphone apps—enable coworkers, teachers, students, patients and doctors to collaborate from anywhere, at any time. Add to that ever-more-popular bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, which enable end users to make use of their own technology for work functions, and the workday is further optimized.
This flexibility means that each individual can work from where he or she is, with no time lost from travel. As anyone who has traveled for work knows, traveling can inhibit collaboration and hamper an employee’s time management abilities. Many companies have experienced this effect first-hand:
- Clothing company Lacoste loses 160 hours a year in managing traveling employees and their bookings.
- At car company Club Assist, managers said they spent 25 percent of every week dealing with employee travel.
2. Faster, more effective decision-making.
Collaboration systems help businesses ensure that all employees are involved and contributing their knowledge and experience—not just those on-site during a given meeting. Real-time collaboration tools enable teams to fully and seamlessly collaborate, which lends itself to faster, more efficient decisions.
3. Increased productivity.
When an employee’s time is optimized and decisions are made more quickly and easily, he or she is able to get a lot more done. Freeing up time and effort can quickly create a ripple effect that empowers employees and leads to continuous collaboration and innovation.
What other information do you share with potential customers who are interested in improving collaboration? What have been some of your most popular collaboration solutions over the last year or so?