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Recently, Zoom’s Chief Information Officer Harry Moseley had an opportunity to sit down with industry leaders from Box, Slack, and Okta to discuss the future of IT in a joint webinar called “Architecting IT for the Future.” With the constantly shifting landscape of the digital marketplace, these industry leaders made it clear that the future success of their companies will depend on their ability to integrate and support a wide range of flexible solutions for their employees and customers.
Here are a few of the key takeaways from the webinar.
Businesses around the world are spoiled when it comes to choosing the devices and solutions they use. With all of these choices, it can be difficult for IT teams to create a tech stack that meets the productivity needs of their employees.
But for the first time in history, we have generations of people who grew up using these digital tools. They have a ton of experience with different applications, devices, and solutions, and they want the freedom to use their preferred technology, inside and outside the workplace. And that will greatly impact the future of IT within the enterprise.
“There are 5 billion people on this planet that are part of the Gen Z or Millennial generation,” Moseley said. “These are people who have grown up in a digital world, in the world of the internet and mobile devices. They have different expectations than the generations before them. The work-life balance for them is sort of a blend, and they went the freedom to work wherever they want with the device of their choice.”
This decision to provide employees with the freedom to choose their preferred solution isn’t just based on convenience. It’s an effective method for enabling a best-of-breed workplace. By supporting a wide range of solutions, employers give their employees the opportunity to find the tool that works best for their given role. Even if many of those solutions solve the same problem or serve the same function, employees will be able to quickly determine which one allows them to be the most productive with the fewest issues.
“The combination of devices and apps leads to different types of employees and users wanting to use different solutions for their own productivity,” said Diya Jolly, Okta’s Chief Product Officer. “There’s more choice than ever before, and IT organizations are seeing that people want that type of choice. You need to support a diverse range of solutions that effectively do the same thing.”
Deploying so many different solutions may seem costly or counterproductive, but it is much less costly than trying to implement solutions that are cumbersome and ineffective one by one. Taking this strategic view of technology support will result in more productive employees, less burden on IT teams, and reduced costs down the line.
An effective solution for businesses that improves efficiency and productivity is always welcome in today’s digital marketplace. But if it doesn’t readily integrate with the rest of the solutions already in place, it won’t have the same impact. Even if it is the best solution on the market, any lack of interoperability will lead to friction in the user experience and may lead businesses to choose different solutions that more readily integrate with their technology stack.
“For us, we have very engaged customers. But the secret sauce is our integration with this tech ecosystem,” said Stephen Franchetti, vice president of business technology at Slack. “We have over 1,500 applications we integrate with natively, so you can download those and make them available in Slack. And we can integrate with pretty much any aspect of the technology stack.”
Customers and businesses are constantly searching for tools and solutions that will drive productivity and growth, but the interoperability of a product will determine its success. IT professionals love effective solutions, but they also want to implement solutions that will increase the effectiveness of those they are already using.
“You want to take advantage of the innovation that is already happening in the marketplace,” Franchetti said. And Jolly added: “That creates a situation where one plus one equals three.”
This enables a scenario where these solutions can work in harmony with each other and give employees added capabilities. Participating in this technology ecosystem creates a symbiotic relationship where solutions from one company can drive the growth and success of another, and vice versa.
The willingness to implement these digital solutions is critical to the success of businesses, but even more critical is creating a culture that has the agility and flexibility to successfully deploy these solutions. With over 50% of Fortune 500 companies closing since 2000, an agile, flexible culture is more important than ever.
“If you look at the companies causing disruption, they are not disrupted by technology,” said Paul Chapman, CIO at Box. “They are enabled by technology. Technology-enabled companies have a different way of thinking and operating and are culturally different.”
Creating a workplace culture that is agile and flexible is important when it comes to implementing new solutions that improve performance, but it is also vital to the future success of these companies. In a landscape where companies are constantly innovating and creating new products and features, businesses need to be agile so they can remain competitive and keep up the pace of innovation. And the future of IT reflects that.
“We’re living in an ecosystem now where you have to keep innovating and introducing new features on your platform,” Moseley said. “If you don’t, the competition will overtake you.”
Watch the full “Architecting IT for the Future” webinar and learn how to design your own organization to be a modern workplace.
Or to learn more about how Zoom’s video-first unified communications platform can help enable the workplace of the future, sign up for a personalized demo with a Zoom product specialist today!