Workplace collaboration

At h2index, we believe collaboration, using systems such as Microsoft Office 365 and Lync, Cisco and Google, is a much bigger subject than simply sharing documents – it touches many aspects of people’s working lives:

  • Sending specific messages from user to user via email or instant messaging
  • Managing documents by sharing them between users, storing them centrally and enabling several people to edit them simultaneously
  • Enabling users to talk to each other using telephony or video
  • Enabling everyone in a call to look at video, documents or a whiteboard simultaneously
  • Sharing screens
  • Enabling people to detect the presence of people at their desk

The benefits and ramifications of these facilities are complex and are best explained through a series of use cases describing possible scenarios.

We have already seen profound changes in the design of workplace of organisations as a result of collaboration.

Cost savings
Initial reports from organisations that have implemented collaborative unified communications systems on a large scale are that the cost savings are even bigger than they had expected. Telephony costs as a much as 40-50% lower. A unified communication meeting room costs a few hundred pounds rather than many thousands.

Many business cases also include reduced travel costs but we have not seen any serious analysis of this yet.

In addition, the soft benefits are considerable:

  • Greater productivity
  • Less exhausting for employees
  • Lower risks for staff
  • Specific additional benefits like the avoidance of working capital expenditure in the factory use case above
  • And most of all, the ability to do some things that simply couldn’t be done before, or if they could be done, the time scale made them unfeasible

But the savings for telephony easily justify the benefit, so there is little need to attempt to quantify these additional benefits.