Connecting with our friends, coworkers or better yet, our customers has never been easier thanks to the new collaboration tools we have today. As we gain more connections, the need to connect faster and communicate in real time increases.
For so many years, we relied on fixed line endpoints to communicate. Nowadays, many organizations run their businesses through the internet or VOIP, and some who have already adopted a new technology take advantage of business-class telephony through the power of the cloud. There’s no longer a need for expensive backend infrastructure or maintenance fees.
However, collaboration in the workforce today goes beyond picking up a phone, leaving a voicemail or just sending an email. Organizations want to provide their employees and their customers with different ways to communicate in real time to get the job done through more personal, but digital, interactions.
The Digital Collaboration Experience
We have already started to experience the adoption of these new digital interactions. You may have corresponded with a virtual teller on a screen when you visited the bank, or maybe you’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with remote employees on a project as if they were at the same place at the same time. Even beloved celebrities like Ellen are using video screens to engage with fans as if they are sitting in her studio audience. All of these scenarios emerged from a need, whether it’s to enhance the guest/customer experience, to cut down operational costs or to enable the employees to work seamlessly from any place, any time and still achieve better results.
So Many Products, So Many Vendors … Where Do I Even Start?
Messaging, calling, meeting and even exchanging files can be done today with little to no friction, challenges or delays, and in real time, all thanks to new technology we have in our hands.
With so many collaboration vendors, solutions, applications, and platforms it’s very difficult to choose one, and your customers are relying on your expertise and guidance to implement the best and right solution for them. Let’s discuss some of the key factors you should consider before recommending a collaboration solution to your customer.
- What is the nature of the organization?
Understanding the type of services your customer offers, as well as how they deliver this service is important to finding the right solution. How do the current employees collaborate on tasks, and how do they provide customer service today?
- What is the size of the organization? Are they looking to connect internally or externally?
Could their company leverage simple applications, or does the organization have a larger amount of employees that would require an enterprise solution? It’s also important to determine which team members only need to connect internally versus externally. Ask if the company has remote workers. This information will help indicate the type of solution that needs to be implemented.
- Which applications, tools and programs are used daily? What does the client’s existing infrastructure look like?
You may want to offer a solution that the customer may be a bit familiar with already and that their current infrastructure will be able to support. You may also want to look into a collaboration solution that’s open and flexible enough in case they would like to link it to existing tools or applications such as email, CRM or database.
If possible, complete a network or cloud assessment to ensure their applications are up to date. You may be able to increase the opportunity by refreshing their infrastructure as well.
- What are some of the challenges the company faces today?
Is the client more concerned about internal team communication? Is customer experience something they want to boost? Focus on the challenge as the catalyst to the solution you will recommend. Your recommendation will set you apart if it’s able to address every aspect of their current struggle and demonstrate how their needs will be met through a proof of concept.
- What is the client’s budget?
Thankfully, there are some products out there at low monthly subscription rates. And there are solutions that will not initially require a significant investment, which works great for startups or small/medium organizations. However, it is good to keep in mind that these organizations may grow, so the solution needs to be flexible enough to scale.
Taking It One Step Further
Tech Data can help you find a solution that’s right for your customer’s business. We can help your sales and technical members learn how to position these solutions, help with assessment and migrations, and even teach your staff how to demonstrate collaboration solutions. Our team can also help you connect new and existing solutions. You don’t have to solve your customer needs alone. Partner with Tech Data to grow your business and establish your company as a trusted and knowledgeable advisor.
Raquel Acuna is a Solutions Consultant at Tech Data Corporation. Currently, she is focused on Cloud Partner Enablement; prior to this role, she led Tech Data Cisco's Go-To-Market strategy. She has been working in the channel for over eight years and has held various roles within the organization such as sales, operations, training and marketing.