The Business-First Platform Defining Collaboration, Conferencing and Communications
Organisations across Asia, Australia and New Zealand are beginning to find some breathing room to think about adapting to the consequences of the last two years. Not every company has been affected by the pandemic to the same degree, but every business is now different from what it was two years ago. Remote working or some form of hybrid working models are real, and organisations are considering three critical aspects of the model for the future: communication & collaboration, support, and security.
Most of us have patched together a raft of solutions that works half decently to cover these areas off, but as we look to support permanent hybrid work from now on, the situation isn’t ideal by any stretch of the imagination.
Previously, many businesses were often using one platform to communicate internally and another to talk to customers. The collaboration suite used internally probably won’t scale to run a large, public conference and may not be ideal for a public webinar. There’s probably no easy way to move data from one application to another without getting the IT Helpdesk on the phone to talk remote workers through the process. Additionally integrating the various solutions in daily use may not be such a good idea without a way to implement an overarching security policy across all of this. Especially with IT Helpdesks are running at a thousand miles an hour, providing support to every home office, which has suddenly become a branch office of the organization.
To help us address these issues and find a way forward, we spoke exclusively to Lindsay Brown, the VP of Sales for LogMeIn in the APAC region, about creating a business-first system in which teams can operate productively, whatever their function, and wherever they may be at any given moment. Lindsay told us that for LogMeIn, the concept is one of personas, where everyone will have specific requirements for comms, security, support, collaboration, and the like, depending on role, location and task:
“When you think about an employer, an audience or an organisation of employees, they have both a work persona, and they also have a personal persona. We talk to organisations about this approach in terms of what are the broad classifications that employees fit into. So then that helps inform the technology decisions[…] The conversation becomes much broader than what’s going to be our next meeting or video call, for instance. A great example is in terms of persona at work [you] could be working in some sort of customer facing capacity, or you could be working in sales. But then you couple that with your personal situation, which might be that you’re a stay-at-home parent, or you’re a single person, but you’ve got to look after elderly parents, for instance. And so, all those factors, holistically considered, help determine how a company should be thinking about how they can provide you with the tech to be able to do your job.”
That holistic approach needs a broad platform in terms of capability, but one that has at its core three pillars of adaptability, integration, and scalability. The video call platform used between colleagues also works perfectly for customer-facing call centres – it’s a matter of scale. That same facility can be leveraged as part of live, embedded support in a web page or app, to speak directly to customers (adaptability), or to provide remote support (from IT or HR) to staff working at home, in a branch office, or travelling between.
One of the core technologies we’ve all got used to is working from different platforms and transferring from a phone to desktop, tablet and laptop. This is the kind of almost hourly switch that we all make, every day, a situation that will continue as we start back — at least part time — into an office. Lindsay stressed that LogMeIn’s GoTo product portfolio is based on the well-known VOIP switchboard concept of “Follow Me,” which is the perfect analogy for how the GoTo suite of products works. He said:
“Wherever you’re working, whether that’s in the office, or at home, or what have you, you still want your customer service organisation to be able to pick up calls and have this concept of Follow Me. Irrespective of location. That’s particularly important when you start to think about organisations [like] financial services, for instance. If you get a poor experience when you’re working with a financial institution, the switching cost is pretty low — the customer decides to go elsewhere.” That’s where something as simple as a dropped call can have significant effects on a business. In the early weeks of lockdown, that sort of occurrence was fine, but not so much two years down the line.
During our conversation, we touched on Teams integration, one of the GoTo product line’s specialisations. Lindsay said that while integrating with the Microsoft O365 Suite was a definite USP for the company, it has a very much more agnostic approach — the platform plays nicely with Google and Amazon business suites, too, from Docs through to S3 storage. The breadth of the platform and its adaptability to business-focused environments are the differentiator among the company’s competitors.
Part of our chat also covered the fact that with any working from home or remotely, there is always a mixture of hardware between personal and business uses — who, after all, has two phones, two tablets and two PCs to carefully dedicate to each area of work and life?
Compartmentalising isn’t possible 100% of the time, and in the case of basic cyber hygiene, that’s not a good situation. Lindsay spoke about how as people, we usually choose the path of least resistance when it comes to choosing passwords for the many services we use across all areas of life:
“What is the number one reason that these companies are breached? It’s not any sophisticated hacking. It’s just reuse of weak passwords. What did you use to log in today? Heaven forbid if you use your Netflix password or your Facebook password. […] Problem is, is hackers are smart to that. And they go, ‘I get your keys to the kingdom by doing a bit of social engineering on Facebook, and I’ve now suddenly got access to not only your social accounts, I’ve also got access to probably your company accounts and so on. That’s how these guys get in; we say that they’re logging in rather than doing anything particularly sophisticated. ”
Without the physical division between work and home much in existence anymore, password hygiene (using unique and complex passwords for every account) needs a helping hand. LastPass, also made by LogMeIn, is available on business plans for organisations rolling out this pretty much mandatory business tool, but users can segment off their own passwords in the app for personal use.
That means when the local gym’s servers get hacked, the bad actors won’t have easy access to any of the sensitive information in the business.
As the last two years have shown, there’s little difference between collaboration across time zones and working groups divided by a couple of floors in the CBD office. The GoTo technology that removes those boundaries between scattered teams also powers training sessions (for customers or colleagues). It scales from one-to-one chats to running huge virtual conferences and webinars. And the same suite lets IT Helpdesks configure a remote printer (and share it with other group members) and deploy apps and patches across hundreds of remote (home) offices.
With the LastPass password manager bringing safety and security to the unavoidable mixing-up of personal and business online lives, companies that are serious about business communications, collaboration, and security should be thinking about the full suite of products and offerings from LogMeIn.
Lindsay asked the question that many decision-makers in businesses across Australasia and the ASEAN region are asking: “How do you support 250 individual offices now? Not three or four offices dispersed across the APAC region or otherwise, maybe ten, globally? That’s super important right now.”
With LogMeIn, the new working paradigm gets the support it needs, but with tools that scale and are multi-purpose, letting organisations find new ways of working that don’t need lots of point products and a fingers-crossed approach to security.
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