Communications apps are supposed to foster collaboration and streamline workflows, but many employees find them to be more trouble than they’re worth. While these apps do help teams collaborate, especially remote teams, they can also hamper productivity and create security risks. If it was just one communications app, the overload wouldn’t be so bad. But employees are using email, office programs, file sharing, voice communications, social media, online document collaboration, video conferencing, team messaging, and more to collaborate. And the more apps an organization has, the more difficult IT’s job becomes.
Shadow IT flourishes with communications apps
Often, the IT department has very little control over what’s being used beyond the standard office productivity apps. Each department chooses an app to meet its needs reactively, which creates siloes within the organization and wrestles away control from the IT department. This happens because employees prefer one app over another and create a culture of shadow IT. This loss of control over communications apps opens up the organization to security and compliance risks from insecure apps.
For example, one department may choose to use a consumer-grade app for instant messaging and chat. However, the vendors of these apps typically own the data, not the enterprise. There’s no guarantee that the messages and files shared are confidential. Even deleting chats may not do much; some of these consumer apps merely archive data. Even if the company isn’t in a heavily regulated industry, like finance or healthcare, they’re still risking intellectual property theft.
Overloaded – and overwhelmed
And as communications apps proliferate, productivity suffers. One study found that more than two-thirds of workers say they waste up to 60 minutes at work navigating between apps, while 17 percent waste even more. That means workers lose about 32 days a year navigating between the very apps meant for workplace productivity, costing hundreds of billions of dollars for businesses annually.
Employees aren’t happy about having to navigate between apps. The same study finds that switching between apps is more annoying that household chores, paying bills, and dealing with an insurance company. They’re annoyed and overwhelmed by the unnecessary complexity added to their workdays.
In some cases, employees are minimizing the time they spend on communications apps. Baby boomers tend to stay in one app for the longest time; only 2 percent of them navigate multiple apps more than five times an hour. This defeats the purpose of having some of the communications apps in the first place.
How to lighten the load
IT doesn’t have to be engaged in a perpetual game of whack-a-mole with insecure apps, and workers don’t have to spend hours toggling between communications apps to get the job done. Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) can unify communications apps to reduce overhead, improve productivity, and reduce IT headaches. It can help secure communications while fostering simplicity in the enterprise. Here’s how:
- UCaaS is much more than phones. It simplifies the communication apps overload by providing a single solution for voice, online faxing, text, web meetings, online conferencing, voicemail – and yes, chat. Not only does this reduce the time employees spend navigating between apps, it also reduces the overhead required to manage multiple communications apps. IT doesn’t need to worry about managing, troubleshooting, and securing a plethora of apps because it’s all managed by the vendor in a secure, redundant data center and monitored 24/7.
- Companies that need more from their UCaaS can add capabilities easily by integrating other business-critical apps. For example, CRM and office productivity apps can be integrated to collaborate and share files across the system, all from the UCaaS app.
- Companies can even centralize reporting and analysis with a UCaaS app. They can pull call analytics and use real-time dashboards to meet user needs, like diagnosing call quality issues.
Ultimately, companies looking to improve employee productivity and reduce IT headaches need to rethink how they use communication apps. UCaaS can simplify the way workers communicate and collaborate, while integrating with other business-critical apps and optimizing communications across the enterprise.
Learn more about how RingCentral unifies enterprise communications by watching a demo.
Originally published Aug 06, 2019, updated Sep 03, 2020