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During Digital Week 2020 conference HCL & IDC presented a fascinating view into 2020, both from the business recovery and digital office transformation perspective, as well as how HCL’s collaboration product suite has been solving a variety of business critical needs.

In light of the Domino v12 coming out in late spring, Richard Jefts, GM and VP of Development for HCL Digital Solutions teamed up with Wayne Kurtzman, Research Director for Social, Communities and Collaboration at IDC, to shed some light on the current state of collaboration.

Internet is a place. Work may not be.

While the concept of Internet as a place has been around for around a decade, this year has really thrust forward another concept. In 2020 we learned on a worldwide scale that while Internet is a place, work may not actually be one.

IDC ran a series of surveys this year to examine the impact that COVID-19 had on IT spending. When looking at the IDC 5 stages of Enterprise Recovery Model, it’s interesting to note the correlation of the primary focus of a business with the economic situation. For instance, while at the beginning of the cycle a business is trying to maintain its continuity, and the depth of recession is all about surviving and building business resiliency, the new normal means growth, adjustment and moving into the future. Unsurprisingly, this new normal implies business successfully having gone through a digital transformation.

While digital transformation has been buzzing around with increasing urgency, it took on a whole new level of importance in 2020. Transitioning to the new digital economy doesn’t mean taking old paper-based processes and moving them to computer files. It means transforming and evolving the way we work and communicate. Unfortunately, only 14% of North American businesses surveyed said they were already operating in the next normal mode, as opposed to the 57% of APAC businesses surveyed.

Collaboration in 2020

So, what’s the biggest challenge facing businesses this year has been? It’s communication. Communication and collaboration challenges have been plaguing our businesses since long before COVID. What’s changed now is that in the age of the smartphones and apps consumers will find a way to solve their problem on their own. They will find an app that meets their needs to communicate and collaborate internally and externally, especially when the needs are pressing. Often the will bring those apps to work. 56% of collaboration solutions at work start out as unauthorized apps.

What adds pressure to accelerate this transformation is the fact that even at the beginning of 2020 62% of businesses were not meeting consumer expectations as compared to the company’s ability to change.

But, as necessity is the root of all progress, COVID pandemic has fast tracked the adoption of digital collaboration by 5 years in just the first 6 months of 2020 alone, according to IDC’s estimates. The digitally savvy employees have actively mentored their old school colleagues in the ways of online collaboration to get things done.

What does this successful collaboration model look like?

At the core of this model are of course security, governance and compliance.

First layer is always communications: the applications that allow individual and group conversations, both formal and informal. Next, content layer facilitates the exchange and repository of experience and ideas and movement of necessary data between participants. Often these two layers were initiated by the employees first, and then vetted and adopted by the IT departments.

Once the first two layers of applications are in place, the third layer of productivity integrates, facilitates and manages the first two to help automate and increase efficiency. Low-code can be a super-power in this layer.

In order for those layers to work, a company also needs to successfully create a culture of collaboration. That means, first and foremost, creating an environment where people can openly exchange ideas, which can both be strengthened by and result in embracing mentorship and modeling. Finally, it can only work if the silos are actively broken down through cross- unit participation.

Both, internal and external collaboration are equally important.

How are IT companies investing in technology?

Team collaboration solutions are right the top of the planned technology spend through 2021, being equally as important as office productivity software suites and device management and security in North America. 

In 2020, 96% of US users use team collaboration platforms, such as HCL Connections, Microsoft Teams, Slack etc, at least several times a day.

The importance of keeping the workforce connected in a common digital space has been important even before the pandemic, and now it is especially so. Even before there was no other choice for working together besides the company’s collaboration platform, the benefits voiced by its users were pretty significant, from increasing personal and group productivity and saving time to being able to have access to and interact with the necessary information in real time.

Benefits of Collaboration

While a lot of tech can boast similar benefits, collaboration platforms have produced a significant impact on the ever elusive company culture and employee engagement: one of the top 5 benefits cited by users in early 2020 was feeling more informed and / or connected.  That has only become more prominent since then. The more organizations integrate their processes with their collaboration platforms, the easier it is to keep everyone better able to function in their job and improves the company culture, regardless of where they are, working remotely or back in the office or back out in the field.

In terms of economic recovery, the goal is always to speed it up while minimizing the severity of the impact. Collaboration can help do that, as long as we look at it not just as a piece of technology but also include the company culture aspect of being willing to share and win as a team with help of the right technology that allows everyone to contribute and add value.

In this current digital transformation and moving forward it takes a connected team to succeed.

How Does HCL Collaboration suite line up with the current needs?

When we look at HCL’s collaboration suite, it lines up with the collaboration stack layers quite perfectly.

While HCL Domino apps remain the powerful core of it, HCL is making investments into re-inventing and innovating the email, and we will be learning more in the coming months.

Sametime Premium has been rebuilt from the ground up and not only allows companies to remain in control of their own data (unlike messaging platforms like Slack) and it will allow to control the SaaS costs of video meetings solutions.

HCL Connections v7 is streamlining the processes via powerful templates that allow users to get started much easier.  It is transforming into a more platform-agnostic tool with its integrations with Microsoft products.

HCL is now also undertaking a foray into the productivity layer and digital office with Project Yuzu. They are looking at how to customize and brand your meetings,  and how to also seamlessly transition from the meeting into an activity or a project space, because that’s when a lot of the productive activity happens.

HCL technology is allowing organizations to overcome various challenges that arose due to the pandemic-fueled digital needs. To learn more about it, please check out the original presentation at the Digital Week conference, or read more on our blog.

Feel free to reach out to us with any question HERE.