Teamwork. Collaboration. Global. These are the hallmarks of soccer. It’s no wonder millions of fans around the globe consider it the “Beautiful Game.” When a team is entirely in synch, communication is pitch-perfect and the ball easily and swiftly passes from one player to the next as they work together toward a common goal.

2018 is a World Cup year and passionate fans from around the world will spend a chunk of their summers cheering and yelling at their televisions and smartphone screens. The lessons from the beautiful game, however, will continue playing out long after the pitch goes silent. Today’s workforce demands this same agility in communication and collaboration and IT needs to be a team player in providing the unified, game-winning platform that makes it all possible.

The future will be more collaborative, not less. In a time of rapid change, several forces – from industry consolidations to changes in the nature of collaboration platforms – are driving the need to evolve the way organizations collaborate. This is the first in a blog series that will explore some of those changes and offer some guidance for navigating this shifting landscape. Here, I hope to foreshadow some of the topics we will address.

As we usher in a new generation of workers (Pew Resesarch reports that millennials are now the largest cohort in the US workforce), the very nature of work is changing, influenced by shifting technological, social and cultural forces. The traditional model of the office-based desk jockey is quickly giving way to employees who are constantly on-the-go–digital natives who are used to carrying a computer in their pocket and staying connected 24/7/365 from anywhere in the world. In response, organizations are becoming flat, agile and global. Even a small business can have a global footprint with a world-spanning supply chain and key distributors or knowledge workers in international locations.

As a result, collaboration platforms have proliferated, offering various tools such as videoconferencing and screen sharing; but many of these are stand-alone services outside the corporate IT framework. Some of these applications are available in the cloud, while some are hosted inside the four walls of the organization but require their own maintenance and support and might not evolve as fast as the organization. In addition, employees increasingly want the freedom to choose their own technology for communicating and collaborating with teammates.

While a unified platform offers workers more flexibility to use their own devices and makes them more efficient, voice and video conferencing put high demand on the network. Corporations need a reliable infrastructure to be able to leverage the variety of technology and tools from internet calls to webcasting and complex, multi-vendor, multi-location video conferencing. The keystone is an underlying, scalable, adaptable network that provides the framework for successful team-building and collaboration.

While much of the collaboration technology is moving to the cloud, many companies have already invested in site-based solutions that need to be maintained even as they transition to the next generation. Adding a reliable partner like CenturyLink to your team can help your organization integrate existing tools with new technology and map out a migration strategy as communications vendors move their services into the cloud. We deliver and support hybrid environments as companies transition to the cloud, allowing them to maintain their investment in legacy systems while also taking advantage of next generation services.

At CenturyLink, we partner with Cisco to deliver a Hosted Collaboration Solution featuring White Glove Service.  We also offer the latest in cloud connectivity through partnerships with other leading vendors such as Microsoft and Amazon. Together, we make it possible to provide you with the communication and collaboration tools that best meet the needs of your organization while tying it all together into a seamless, integrated network.

As the upcoming global competition looms, let’s kickoff a conversation about your collaboration needs. In the midst of consolidation, technology change and even generational transitions it is a good time to assess your business’ position. Where do you stand on the journey to a more collaborative future for your organization?

Let’s work together to make a game-plan that helps your team achieve its goals.

UPDATED May 17, 2018: To read part two of this blog series, click here: Playing to Win: Attracting the Right Team with Collaboration Tools.

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