Defining and Understanding Workstream Collaboration
After ten years of leading the charge in the unified communications (UC) market, Microsoft helped us to broaden the equation back in 2017. Now, although UC continues to be an active focus, we’ve begun to think of workstream collaboration (WSC) as our middle name. Not a day (or an hour) goes by when we’re not writing about, thinking about or answering customer questions about WSC. Slack took hold of the workstream collaboration market in 2013, but it wasn’t until Microsoft Teams was released in 2017 that conversations about workstream collaboration apps really picked up. So what is it?
Gartner defines workstream collaboration as a market made up of “products that deliver a persistent conversational workspace for group collaboration and can be arranged into public or private channels (often organized by topic). Products in this market can be used within an enterprise or become multi-party between organizations at the workspace or channel level.”
And Nemertes Research describes workstream collaboration as “enabling teams to communicate in context by integrating chat, voice, video, and meetings with business workflows and external applications.”
The endgame here is that UC is slowly getting superseded by WSC – communication in the workplace is evolving. Businesses are working hard to stay competitive, to increase success, and to become more efficient – and to do this, they’re bringing workstream collaboration apps to their organizations. These apps help bring together persistent chat, knowledge sharing, calls (including audio, video, and screen sharing), bots, search and discovery functionality, and top it all off with some handy integrations.
How WSC Differs from Unified Communications
Unified Communications (UC) boosts user productivity to enhance business communication processes, giving businesses the chance to integrate their communications and business apps. Basically, UC brings together telephony, meeting solutions (audio, web, video), IM, presence, and messaging (email), voicemail and has the capability to integrate with other communication applications like contact centers.
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While this sounds similar to the workstream collaboration definition, it’s missing the collaboration component that includes things like persistent chat, awareness and discovery functionality, and integrations. Also missing from UC is a persistent file sharing in the form of robust document management. For example, Microsoft Teams actually integrates SharePoint Online into its backend infrastructure, allowing Teams users to leverage and benefit from the nearly 20 year SharePoint document management legacy and experience. In many WSC applications, such as Slack or Workplace from Facebook, WSC also lacks the voice/telephony component that is a key (and major) part of unified communications.
Why You Need It
Applications like Microsoft Teams help promote engagement and productivity in the workplace. Organizations who use workstream collaboration see an increase of at least 21% in productivity and report higher success in meeting business needs.
Some of the key benefits of workstream collaboration apps include a breakdown of company silos, connecting remote workers, elevating workflows, and improving engagement that drives ROI.
Selecting the Right Workstream Collaboration App
If you’re like 59% of companies who are using or planning to deploy workstream collaboration, there are a few things to consider such as:
- Where are you in your cloud migration?
- What are your employees asking for?
- What are your voice needs?
- Are WSC apps already deployed?
- What are your specific governance needs?
- Do you have the right security in place?
How WSC App Management Tools can Increase Success
Want to make sure you’re getting the most out of workstream collaboration? Using specialty monitoring and management tools can help keep track of key metrics such as uptime, utilization, and voice quality – and also to proactively optimize and troubleshoot the apps to keep them up and running for end users. Workstream collaboration management tools can also lead to a reduction in overall IT operating expenses.
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