What must you do to become the go-to person for driving digital transformation in your organization? That question was the focus of a wide-ranging panel discussion, “Why You Need to Champion Communications Transformation in Your Organization,” at Enterprise Connect 2019 in Orlando.
“Advancements in technology continue to change the role of IT managers,” said Phil Edholm, president, PKE Consulting, who moderated the panel. “As voice and IP network infrastructure converged in the early 2000s, it was usually the data networking manager who took over. That IT leader’s role has expanded with the move to unified communications (UC) and the cloud.”
Now, senior IT managers are dealing with the growth of application communications, such as voice calls triggered by devices and apps rather than humans, Edholm said. Examples include team-messaging apps like Slack and Uber’s passenger to driver, device to device communications.
“Implementing UC can significantly increase the productivity of knowledge workers,” said Edholm. “But if you can change a business process by integrating application communications, you can potentially deliver more two to five times more value to your organization.” For instance, if physician or dentist appointment notifications can be handled by an app, an employee doesn’t have to handle that task and can focus on handling any scheduling problems that arise.
“As voice and IP network infrastructure converged in the early 2000s, it was usually the data networking manager who took over. That IT leader’s role has expanded with the move to unified communications (UC) and the cloud.”
Edholm asked the four panelists about how they were leading change in their organizations and the issues they faced. “We have consolidated six conferencing platforms, improving productivity,” said Brian Scott, director, Workspace Engineering, Cox Automotive. “While IT is driving these kinds of changes, it’s important to have a business sponsor behind you. We also usually partner with the financial side.”
Jayne Bynum, director, IT Infrastructure, SemGroup Corp., agreed. “Our employees’ needs drive change in our company,” she said. “You have to always be responsive to the customer, but you typically need a business sponsor as well. As champions of technology, we can treat change as a marketing opportunity.”
Along with having a sponsor, it takes extensive “pre-work” to lay the ground for technology changes, said Dan Stephens, senior director, Global Support Services, Discovery, Inc., “We get feedback from our power users, and listen carefully as we roll things out.”
He noted that Discovery was moving to an all-mobile environment using tools like Zoom, Skype for Business and Slack, along with new headsets and huddle rooms of different sizes. “Most people are used to picking up a phone and dialing, so we needed to do a lot of explaining and answering questions about why we were making this move. Once it was underway, we held launch parties with trainers and demos to get them more comfortable with the technologies.”
Chad Reese, director of IT, Pro Football Hall of Fame, said it’s important to follow what tools your workforce is using. “We saw a lot of personal Dropbox accounts and brought that tool in house,” he said. “We also worry a lot about security. I believe if you are not a change agent, you will be changed out of your job.”
Finally, Edholm asked the panelists how they showed the value of their initiatives to senior management. Their answers were similar: put the benefits and cost reductions into an Excel spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation. As Stephens said,” We try to show the simplified infrastructure and savings on one slide. That’s an effective way to convey your message.”