Shannon Ferley
Shannon Ferley Head: Communications

For an effective communication strategy, a business needs the right communication technology. Exciting new technologies are constantly entering the market, bringing smarter capabilities, improved accessibility, mobile functionality and ever-more integration. Bringing it on board with the least amount of disturbance to your operations need not be as challenging as it sounds.

two women and two men standing infront of workboard

Understand the problem

Of course it’s impossible to chase after every nifty innovation, so rather find and employ only those that fit with your businesses’ needs and will ultimately lead to its growth. You don’t want to waste time and money on overly complicated systems with few real benefits, or white elephant platforms nobody is going to use. So consider your operational challenges very carefully, and how this new technology will solve them. If it really is the solution you need it would be a mistake to hold back, because your competitors probably won’t. You need the certainty that comes from a thorough understanding of the issue.

Have a plan

Some level of disruption to daily operations can always be expected but can be minimised with a proper strategy. There is a process that must be followed when deploying any new communication technology. Plan the implementation well ahead of time. Keep the process transparent by detailing exactly what to expect along the way and try to avoid leaving anyone out of the loop. That includes clients if there’s a possibility they’ll be impacted. Apologise in advance and prepare them for it.

Degrees of customisation

Fully customised solutions are expensive, and unless your business has very particular needs, this route is usually unnecessary. On the other hand, a once-size-fits-all solution might not be optimal for your communications strategy. If possible, consider a semi-custom solution which allows you to cherry-pick the features you need but doesn’t force you to pay for extra features you don’t.

Ensure staff are prepared

Prior to deployment all your staff must be adequately trained on the new system. This alone can make the difference between a seamless transition and a traumatic one. A business’ operations can be brought to its knees if the team is struggling to navigate the basics. Staff will be frustrated as they don’t see why the change was needed, unaware of the benefits the new system can offer. Most will resist change especially when not convinced that it’s a change for the better.

The more they understand the new technology, the more they will embrace it. Keep providing training opportunities with hands-on engagement so they can continue advancing their knowledge, and don’t expect them all to pick it up straight away. It is very important that your full senior leadership team champions the change, and are themselves trained adequately (at the very least).

Embrace change which drives advancement

New technologies can unlock incredible growth opportunities. The concept of a collaborative online workspace was inconceivable even ten years ago, but now it’s driving greatly improved workplace efficiency – fewer consultative conversations and email chains, more productivity. Chat services, video conferencing and cloud-based intranet software all increase the speed of communication, allowing for agility in managing a team and collaborating on projects that was never possible before. With benefits this significant, can your business afford not to invest in new technologies?

It’s dangerous to be a late adopter these days. If your competition is putting cutting-edge communication technology into practice and you aren’t, you had better have a plan to catch up, otherwise that gap will continue to widen.