Spring has arrived, and as the days lengthen, there is a glimmer of light at the end of the Coronavirus tunnel. As organisations plan returning to the office or decide that they quite like working remotely, it’s time to reflect on how we stayed connected with our colleagues throughout successive lockdowns.
At a virtual European CIO event earlier this year, I participated in an animated session on the new roles thrust upon CIOs during the pandemic. Along with core responsibilities to enable productivity through technology, leaders faced a new obligation, that of looking after employee wellness. Their colleagues needed the right collaboration tools for living their best work lives and, in some cases, mentally surviving isolation. A difficult decision at the best of times, but it got worse: they needed the solution last week and their teams were also the customers!
The CIOs at the conference and their companies had survived this big shift, and they were ready to plan for the future. Last spring, we were in “survival mode”, but now, with the chaos of 2020 behind us, it’s time to reflect. What should we take forward? What should we change? What new approaches might we try? The answers to these are different for each business, and at the conference they followed two themes: tools that work for users, and tools that work for organisations.
Some news last week reminded me of the conference: the UK government is facing a legal challenge over its use of WhatsApp. There are fears that the ‘self-destructing messages’ feature might establish a ‘cloak of secrecy’ around government business, and the resulting lack of transparency would make it difficult to keep politicians accountable while serving in public office.
It seems WhatsApp may have come up short for both users, and the organisation. Users have been given a feature set that might be innocently used and result in trouble. And the organisation (the government) has specific needs for archiving and recording, which WhatsApp may not be meeting.
In this case, the problem is caused by application features appropriate for a consumer setting that are inappropriate for a professional setting. Clearly, tools that work for users and organisations must deliver a feature set that is intuitively simple for users, and that is coherent with the specific professional requirements of each organisation.
There have been other cases too. In the past year, we’ve also seen plenty of news items about the trustworthiness of many major players in the marketplace, from security issues to repeated major service interruptions. Organisations now rely on their collaboration tools more than ever – it’s crucial that they can trust their collaboration solution. These platforms have to work, every time, and must uphold the highest security standards.
If you are using tools that aren’t right for your organisation, or you chose them, it’s OK. We had to make fast decisions under pressure at the beginning of the pandemic. But now it’s time to reflect. Do these tools work for you and your colleagues? Do these tools work for your organisation?
No? Don’t worry – there’s a better way. (And no corporate blog post would be complete without a plug for our product) StarLeaf is here for you. It’s intuitively simple, designed with people first, and it has exemplary security credentials, together with robust data sovereignty and an extensive network of data centre provision.
If you’re a user, help your CIO. He or she is looking to serve your needs and if StarLeaf works for you, I guarantee it has everything needed to work for your CIO too.
Steve Raffe, StarLeaf