In the seemingly distant days of the twentieth century, communications and collaboration were something you wouldn’t talk about. That is, you had to be at your desk to communicate by phone, or around a table to collaborate with colleagues— essentially spending eight hours a day stooped over a big hunk of wood. With email and the mobile phone came sweet freedom, or so we thought. Instead, we simply became chained to our Internet connections, wireless reception and work-authorized devices (Blackberries, laptops, etc.).
The first step to freedom
4G/LTE has broken many of those chains for employees. We can count on a mobile broadband connection most of the time and have the freedom to choose our own devices for work, whether it’s an iPhone, Chromebook or Galaxy tablet. In the data center, however, it’s often a different story, as many IT departments are still chained to premises-based PBX systems that deliver the core, mission-critical communications—but not the mobile collaboration—that enterprises need to succeed.
Workers go rogue
In the absence of true communications and collaboration freedom, individual employees act individually. They download apps like Skype and Slack on their mobile devices, use services like Dropbox to store and share files, and generally drift apart from IT’s closed vision of what constitutes secure, reliable communications and collaboration. Shadow IT practices cost enterprises more than you think but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Unlocking a different model
A hosted VoIP solution can unlock communications from the enterprise data center and connect it to the cloud. This means everyone can share the same secure, reliable enterprise-class experience no matter where they are or what device they’re using. Just as importantly, a hosted VoIP solution also frees IT from being “the phone guys” who have to provision new phone services, maintain the phone hardware and software at every office, and continually needle the networking team about performance issues.
Treating causes, not symptoms
Hosted VoIP is one way to improve productivity, but as the song goes, one can be a lonely number. Without a unified collaboration component to your communications system, your enterprise is still vulnerable to the symptoms of shadow IT as individual users download their own apps rather than toggle between disconnected communications and collaboration tools.
In our experience, we’ve found that combining communications and collaboration into a single cloud solution is the perfect match for enterprises.
Squashing Shadow IT
Combining communications and collaboration prevents employees from straying into the crowded forest of “unauthorized” cloud apps by providing something they can’t get anywhere else: a simple user experience that shifts seamlessly between calls, collaboration tools, conferencing features and more. It also helps IT to manage those tools with one set of security and business policies, which is important if your business has unique privacy or compliance requirements.
You’ll find that perfect match in MiCloud with MiTeam, which brings cloud communications and collaboration into a single solution.