SME Tech

Collaboration Tools: Combatting the Competition

Every business, big or small, uses conference rooms for team meetings, brainstorming sessions, training sessions, customer forums and organisational conferences. In the past, the amount of money spent in information communication technology used to determine a company’s competitiveness level in the market. Better communication and collaboration tools meant more business velocity, less travel costs, increased productivity, and faster innovation. However, as technology becomes more affordable and accessible, it is time for small and medium-size enterprises to collaborate and fight back. MARC-ALEXIS REMOND explains.

Competitiveness and Technology
The innovation war is still on, but the difference is that smaller businesses have now access to the same arsenal to increase their competitiveness. For the past 20 years, large companies have had access to advanced collaboration technologies to reduce travel costs and boost productivity resulting in increased competitiveness. They have invested in monolithic hardware-based video solutions which require huge IT investments along with a team of experts to manage a very complex infrastructure.  Small and medium enterprises did not have the resources to enjoy the same types of collaboration tools. But things are changing fast.

Communication and collaboration technologies are now available in the form of software on desktop and mobiles devices and delivered from the cloud. Some are free of charge (Microsoft Skype, Google Hangout, WeChat, Line, ooVoo) and others require a monthly subscription to a specific service (Microsoft Skype for Business, Amazon Chime, Zoom, Bluejeans). As a result, it is now possible for small and medium-sized business to equip their teams with the same communication tools on desktop and mobile devices to compete against larger players. However, when it comes to using them in the conference room, they face some challenges. Here’s why.

Workspaces and Collaboration
Conference rooms have been around for a very long time. Work styles have changed significantly but the designs and technologies used have been the same for too many years. According to Wainhouse Research, out of the 12.5 million conference rooms worldwide, only three percent are equipped with traditional video conferencing today. High equipment cost has been the main barrier to technology deployment especially in smaller meeting spaces. Moreover, 97 percent of those rooms are only equipped with a display and a telephone.

While technological innovations make it easier now for any organisation to adopt new communication and collaboration solutions, meeting participants still waste up to 20 percent of video meeting time on technical issues around preparation and connectivity.

While technological innovations make it easier now for any organisation to adopt new communication and collaboration solutions, meeting participants still waste up to 20 percent of video meeting time on technical issues around preparation and connectivity. In today’s digital age, this is simply unacceptable. Technology should help your business and not affect productivity and performance. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the problems faced by employees during meetings.

Problems faced by Users
After carefully listening to end users, observing meeting participants, and analysing various industry reports, we have been able to identify six recurrent and endemic problems faced by teams that you should be aware of:

  • Cables, adapters, and screen resolution: Time is wasted because presenters struggle to find the right adapter or cable to display the document on their laptop or simply because they cannot adjust screen resolution and image quality.
  • Laptops for team collaboration: Efficiency is impacted because participants use a laptop to attend web and video conferences. Therefore, people have to squeeze in front of the webcam and microphone to be heard and seen affecting the virtual meeting experience. Those staying off camera end up multitasking and being less engaged compared to others.
  • Monolithic collaboration solutions: Customers are tired of investing in collaboration systems that can only be used for one thing. Too often, audio, web and video conferencing solutions are built in silos and are not interoperable.
  • UC and workspace strategies: Employees are equipped with unified communication applications across all their devices except the one in the conference room. They get frustrated when forced to use yet another system with a different interface. Time is becoming a rare commodity, so is the patience of a user.
  • Social media applications: Younger generations love social media and mobile applications. They want to use them at work too, to be as productive as they can be. Yet, various compny policies forbid the use of consumer and social media applications such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Line, and WeChat.
  • Real-time information sharing: Companies invest a lot in applications to access all kinds of data in real-time, but sharing such data in a team meeting is often a problem. Users need to be able to access such data using the system in the conference room for everyone to see and be on the same page.

Smarter Collaboration for SMEs
There is a new generation of smart collaboration systems designed to make team meetings more participatory, effective and collaborative. Designed by Nuage Solutions in Singapore, ROOMIE® is a range of ‘open’ (i.e. platform and service-agnostic) collaboration systems running on Windows 10 Pro allowing employees to access to any consumer or enterprise applications; wirelessly share data from any device; start chat sessions; join virtual conferences (audio/web/video) and stream media in any meeting, learning or training space.

All ROOMIE® models come with business-grade camera, microphone and speakers providing an enterprise-grade collaboration experience. They leverage the power of software and the cloud and are available at a fraction of the price compared to traditional hardware-based solutions. SMEs can use ROOMIE® Smart Collaboration systems together with free cloud-based services like Microsoft Skype or Google Hangout or professional subscription-based UCaaS or VaaS offerings.

Conclusion

Today, the pace of business is much faster. Marketing timelines and product lifecycles are shorter than ever. The world is an increasingly complex and competitive place where productivity and innovation are vital. Succeeding in this highly competitive world requires people – everywhere – to work in a highly collaborative fashion.

The good news is that even small and medium-sized businesses can fight back and make a mark without having to spend huge sums of money in technology. They just need to choose the software, and a cloud-based and open smarter collaboration system for all their meeting, learning and training spaces. It is also important to empower one’s team to use the collaboration tools they need to unleash unprecedented waves of productivity and innovation.

If you want to know more about smart collaboration solutions, you can contact me at [email protected] or check our website at www.nuage.sg.

 

About the author

SPI Group

An integrated platform created to serve entrepreneurs and service providers. SPI engages with over 100,000 Entrepreneurs & Senior decision makers through a unique combination of cutting edge business magazines, high profile B2B summits and conferences, strategic alliances with Govt, business associations and government bodies. SPI also leverages the power of digital marketing and social media.

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