“What we have here is a failure to communicate,” Strother Martin said in Cool Hand Luke back in 1968. And there’s a reason that line remains memorable four and a half decades later: Business communication problems are a big source of inefficiency and frustration, and when technology is involved, they seem to multiply the frustration – not to mention the impact.
When it comes down to it, business technology is really all about communication. When that technology is inefficient, bogged down, poorly configured, dysfunctional, or just plain slow, you can wind up with “failure to communicate” on a grand scale.
In Cool Hand Luke, they tended to solve communications issues by hitting people and smashing things. Fortunately, there are better methods available. All of them start with properly identifying the problem – always the first step in applying an effective solution.
There are three common “Failure To Communicate” issues that tend to crop up again and again, driving employees, managers and clients crazy. While it’s unfortunate that these problems are so widespread as to be almost endemic, the good news is that there are solutions available—and effective, affordable ones at that.
- Waiting, waiting, waiting. You need information – now – and you’re not getting it. The email that doesn’t come, the call that doesn’t arrive, the meeting that doesn’t happen. All too often this is a consequence of reliance on problem-prone, outdated technologies. Are you waiting for that vital, massive file to arrive via email? Or through some not-so-secure third-party FTP provider? And are you really trying to get that many busy people in the same room at the same time? Consider this: Skype for Business enables full audio/video virtual meetings to happen securely any time, through any device – phone, tablet, or PC. And OneDrive for Business lets you get or send that mammoth file now, as in now—without waiting an eternity for upload, transit, reassembly, and download.
- Too much. Much too much. Check your inbox: Chances are that it’s packed with spam, unnecessary CCs/BCCs, daisy-chain reply strings, misdirected messages and other clutter that gobbles time and patience as you sift through looking for the information and communications you actually need. Now consider Yammer: Yammer yanks the ‘inside’ communications out of the email chain, making it faster and simpler to handle quick response/low priority items, saving your beleaguered inbox for the messages that really matter. Exchange Online Protect filters out noise and garbage emails, and lets you define prioritization to ensure that high value communications come to your attention first.
- Communications inefficiency. Chances are you are well acquainted with the tiresome ritual of looking for “that” attachment – and wasting a lot of time trying to find it. If it’s something you want to send, it’ll be one of several similarly-named files you have to sift through before identifying the right version. If it’s something you receive, it amounts to scrolling through your inbox looking for messages with attachment icons, and clicking over and over again: “nope, nope, nope….yes, finally.” You know the drill, right? Well, that’s where the cool Office 2016 “recent items” feature comes in handy. Suddenly you can quickly and easily find that attachment you’re after. And if the inefficiency has anything to do with working across multiple offices, time zones, countries, or continents, that’s where Skype For Business makes itself invaluable. You ditch the long distance charges and shaky connections in favor of affordable real-time voice and messaging.
Many of the IT solutions reviewed here are part of the Office 365 experience. Why settle for “failure to communicate” when solutions are readily at hand? Strother Martin wouldn’t put up with it. Neither should you.