Sprint rolls out Microsoft Lync to workers in 'social' cultural shift

Mobility is a big part in the social business but changing the organisational culture is often difficult. Sprint has rolled out Microsoft Lync to enable their remote employees to become more connected.

Kansas-based Sprint has has rolled out Microsoft Lync across its business, enabling their employees to become more connected -- even whilst working remotely.

Microsoft Lync, the new name for Office Communications Server (OCS), will now replace phones with headsets for users' PCs.

Encouraging mobility

Mobility is a big part in the social business, but changing the organisational culture is often difficult.

"Culture is the real challenge", said Joe Hamblin, Sprint's Unified Communications and Collaboration manager. "Some users just resist change and others embrace it. So, you have to do some internal marketing to figure out user preferences."

"Work is something you do, not somewhere you go, and [unified communications] platforms like Lync brings that idea to life", he added.

However, Hamblin acknowledges that the weakest link often falls to the employees' own home set-up.  Poor broadband connectivity can often struggle with latency issues when running video streaming.

Enterprise collaboration

Sprint has joined other enterprises such as Dell, and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in implementing Lync. Dell has connected 80,000 internal employees to Microsoft's unified communications platform after the company updated to Lync 2010.

Commonwealth Bank reported a 60 percent uptake within the first 24 hours of implementation, reaching 32,000 desktops in only a fortnight.

Working wherever, whenever

Collaborative tools such as corporate instant messaging (IM), audio using voice-over-IP (VoIP), along with video and document sharing enables workers to become more mobile. Knowledge workers can work flexibly from home when they need to, yet still be connected to their colleagues whether in the office or working remotely.

Over 80 percent of companies use some form of room based conference system. Yet, there seems to be a slower uptake in use of desktop video.

Seeing me, seeing you

Users do still tend to prefer to use the less intrusive IM to connect with their co-workers. Perhaps users are reluctant to turn video on and be seen by their colleagues in their home office or other home-based workplace. But these collaboration tools are there should they wish to use them.

I wonder whether the Generation Y, who are used to communicating using Skype, will change this reluctance to video, as remote working becomes the norm across more businesses.

Hamblin is right. Work is certainly something you do, not somewhere you go. Unified communications technology certainly brings this capability to more desk bound-workers who would like to become more mobile.

Working where they want to, and when they want to, will certainly make your workers happier. Why, it could even make them more productive, too.

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