The initial blog series that will focus on the huddle room, providing an overview of many aspects related to its role as a collaboration hub within the enterprise. This is the first blog of the series, with subsequent blogs to come that will provide insight into huddle room technologies, workforce, and requirements that impact effective conferencing and collaboration.
Now numbering over 32 million worldwide, per Roopam Jain at Frost & Sullivan in her recent article, Huddle-room Collaboration – Looking Beyond the Hype, the Huddle Room has emerged as the location within the enterprise intended to foster effective small-group collaboration amongst teams of knowledge workers who are collocated and/or distributed by geographical boundaries or organizational silos. While many of these initial spaces were naked (void of any technology), IT organizations have begun to equip the huddle room with a wide range of audio and visual tools, technologies and platforms in an effort to arm these teams with the tools required to facilitate more effective collaboration. Ironically, adding more technology hasn’t been a simple fix, and instead of fostering greater levels of team collaboration and efficiency, these investments have often added a level of complexity that actually resulted in decreased productivity and increased frustration.
What’s Driving Frustration in the Huddle Room
So, what went wrong? While it’s hard to pinpoint any specific element as being the culprit, there are many contributing factors. A major consideration relates to the needs, behaviors and desires of the changing workforce of Millennials who want the flexibility to work with the same tools and apps that they use in their daily lives. Forcing them to work with unfamiliar devices or systems that are not dynamic and intuitive represents a colossal failure by IT organizations chartered with empowering employees to work as productively as possible. Another major factor relates to the complexity of trying to support disparate tools and platforms and have them work together seamlessly to produce a consistent and effective meeting experience every time. Once employees lose faith in their ability to easily start and control the meeting experience, they seek other ways of communicating and collaborating.
While there is no single reason for the lack of efficiency of the current huddle room, there are many areas for improvement. As a company that is purely focused on bringing a simple, consistent experience to the huddle room, we believe there are a few requirements for driving increased enterprise productivity utilizing these resources. Why should we care? Because huddle rooms aren’t just growing in number. They’re also poised to host the bulk of video collaboration going forward, expanding from 8.1% of all video calls in conference rooms today to a massive 70% by 2022 (also according to Miss Jain of Frost & Sullivan).
The Keys to Huddle Room Productivity
First, it’s got to simple. Employees just want things to work easily. They don’t want to read a manual on new hardware or sit through training for a new collaboration platform. They just want (and expect) the same simplicity in business they get from their favorite personal apps.
It’s got to be instant. Click-to-join for the most critical collaboration functions (e.g., voice, video, wireless presentation) is the expectation. Arming employees with the ability to easily and instantly initiate their meeting of choice is the holy grail of enabling workforce productivity.
And it’s got to be consistent. We get it. This isn’t as easy as it once was when IT chose a single platform for all calls and hardware. Huddle room configurations change and call platforms switch from meeting to meeting. But that doesn’t mean you can throw your hands in the air. Users want a familiar experience. Forcing them to learn multiple approaches and platforms is a recipe for failure – and avoidable.
Where Do We Go from Here?
The intent of this blog is to highlight many of the challenges and opportunities of today’s enterprise collaboration environment. In the coming days and weeks we will provide additional perspectives on how we believe these environments can live up to their potential as enterprise collaboration engines. We hope you will join us as we continue to explore this topic.