Chaos under control
It is 5:30 a.m. at the Pauly residence. Drunk with sleep, I’m stumbling through the house. Not because I’ve got sleepwalking tendencies, but because I’ve got a meeting at 9 a.m. in Hamburg, at the other side of Germany. A flight at the crack of dawn awaits me – the bane of every business traveler’s life. To say that I’m tired is an understatement. A more apt description would be that my brain is on standby.
After an exceptionally smooth drive, I arrive at the airport on time only to discover that I’ve left my cellphone at home. That’s what being on standby does to you. To make matters worse, I had arranged a teleconference I wanted to take care of during my wait at the airport. Well, this is certainly going to be a fun day…
Communication and collaboration plan B
A short while ago, Oliver talked about Starbucks as a dynamic out-of-office business location – albeit as a planned alternative. Sometimes, however, places like Starbucks with a reliable Wi-Fi connection can be a real haven for troubled business travelers. My vital lifeline was my iPad. I needed at least one device to hand. I had a plan. One – order a double espresso. Two – log into Starbucks Wi-Fi on my iPad. Three – set up the Jabber client for my UCC application and access the telephone client, my calendar, teleconference data, emails, etc. Voilà, my mobile emergency office was good to go faster than you can say “unified communication and collaboration”. The espresso started to take effect, and the sweat on my brow disappeared.
Communication and collaboration in today’s world has to span more than just your average working day – it has to cover out-of-the-ordinary scenarios, too. Or let’s say “dynamic” ones. Sometimes you can plan for them, sometimes you just have to be able to take action in the midst of unexpected chaos. I think “helping to boost productivity” is a very good way of putting it. What’s important here are solutions that are provided everywhere on a centralized basis and feature stringent but user-friendly security concepts. Some colleagues of mine say it’s about being able to use “any device, anywhere”. I’m sure you’ve experienced situations similar to my own when your backup device has saved your skin – that might sound a bit over the top, but I think you know what I mean.
A firm foundation for dynamic collaboration
Whether employees are getting more and more disorganized or are increasingly embracing this dynamic approach to work is not for me to judge. Nor have I been able to find any statistics on this topic. Either way, it is certainly beneficial when companies give their staff dynamic ways to work and access information. It doesn’t just help an individual employee if they’re having a bad day – allowing staff to take care of those minor business disasters themselves takes the strain off the service desk, too.
Unified communication and collaboration solutions need to give the user room for maneuver, without triggering a descent into anarchy. We have to bid farewell to the days of rigid control and limitations. Background security must be invisible, imperceptible and nevertheless efficient. As a part of the user experience, security means helping users, not hindering them. That is why data is kept in a highly secure data center in a private cloud. In the background, an automated VPN client ensures that my data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands – even when I’m using public hotspots. Of course, these can be rounded off by incorporating yet more security mechanisms such as encryption. The tools are certainly there to enable dynamic and secure working. These work best when they are provided to employees in the background as standard. After all, hardly anyone has a special security concept up their sleeve just in case all hell breaks loose.