2017 was a big year for mergers and acquisitions (M&As) with $3.7 trillion in deals, making it the third highest since the 2007 financial crisis. Economists are projecting 2018 to yield a higher number of M&A deals due to factors such as economic strength across the globe, U.S. corporate tax cuts and the repatriation of offshore profits, just to name a few.
When two companies merge, one of the signs of their future success depends on how well they can work together in a truly collaborative manner (Are we a match? Do we have the same goals / strategy?). Not to be confused with similar-sounding concepts such as consensus, teamwork and working remotely, collaboration encourages clusters of knowledge workers with diverse skills to work on complex projects and make decisions promptly.
To achieve collaboration, companies need real-time communication through applications that incorporate social-media-like capabilities and enable work tasks to be shared on a secure technology platform. In a collaborative environment, individuals can apply themselves to their work based on their skills and availability, regardless of their geographic location. Additionally, expertise outside the enterprise is available as needed (i.e., on-demand) to bring about necessary knowledge/education.
Disparate, on-premises communication technologies stifle productivity
While most of us have a mental image of what collaboration could be like, the experience often resembles “Conference Call in Real Life,” a short video that humorously depicts participants losing their connections, experiencing audio dropouts, freeze-ups and other annoying distractions.
Although Bedroc hasn’t undergone an M&A in its “typical” form, our company’s exponential growth over the past nine years created a similar environment that two companies could find themselves in post-merger. In 2016, we assessed our communication technology and realized there were multiple legacy systems from numerous vendors being used. For example, one department used Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) for voice, which ran on an instant messaging and presence (IM&P) server. Other departments used WebEx Messenger, some used Jabber and others were using Skype for Business. The chief complaint we received from users was a lack of availability of our communication tools while they were outside their office. Most people were limited to using email or text messaging when working remotely. Another complaint was the hodge-podge of systems we were using.
At the end of our assessment, it was apparent we needed a single client that could function as a softphone, a chat client and a video endpoint and it would work without the need for a VPN back to our office. Bonus points for anything that didn’t require us to manage on-premises equipment.
Want to know what solution we selected (and whether or not we’re thrilled with it)? Stay tuned for part 2 of this series.