CIO roundtable: 'Navigating the new workplace'

Divina Paredes

The new collaboration tools

Phil Goodwin, general manager, marketing, Dimension Data: We moved into a new office in Auckland last year and merged three offices. We stood back and said, 'What are the key things that we need to be able to support a new way of working?' And one of them was to make it highly collaborative. So we put all the tool sets in place and made it really fit for mobile workers.

One of the things we discovered is that the new collaboration channels don't substitute the old ones; they complement the existing channels, rather than replace them. Users will adopt the new modes of collaboration at different rates, and it is important to segment users into profiles that reflect their working style. These profiles help clarify their collaboration needs. The key IT challenge is to ensure that all models are integrated.

Andries van der Westhuizen, group IT transformation manager, Stevenson Group:We implemented Lync in thebeginning of last year and I was fairly adamant we will not replace desk phones with desk phones; we will give them headsets. There was a lot of resistance in the beginning, but now the majority of people love their headsets because it makes them 'hands free' while doing the calls, and the clarity of the call is a lot better.

We have got a few desk phones where it is practical; at our quarry for the use of the dispatcher, for example. The dispatcher has got a desk phone as a backup in case there is a problem. We have desk phones where people need to share a phone. A headset is something a little bit more personal and you don't want to share your headset with everybody.

With Lync, there is better collaboration because people can share information through the applications. Desktop support is also a lot better and it is a lot easier to set up a conference call.

Chris Robb, head of technology for retail and business banking, ANZ : There continues to be a whole range of tools out there. If I look at a couple of the trends for enablement, I would say mobility and video are going to be real leaders in getting a much richer collaborative and communication experience.

But you have to recognise some of the behaviours of your staff and that there are different generations of people: Some who have had paper memos and want to pick up the phone and talk, others who have grown up with social media, Twitter and Facebook. If you want to attract and retain a generation that has been brought up with modern collaboration tools, you need to recognise they are used to constant change, with new and improved ways of communicating and collaborating -- and that will continue. You are looking at a younger generation growing up with a different way of learning at school, much more self-service; you know, 'Google it.'

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