Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Enterprise Collaboration Lessons Learned from Building with Lego

July 15, 2015

Sometimes it takes stepping back from our preoccupation with all things high tech to appreciate that insights about its applicability can be gained from our own personal experience using low tech capabilities.  To this point, I was struck by a recent blog by Gina Clarkin, Senior Manager, Solutions Marketing at customer engagement and unified communications (UC) and collaboration solutions provider Interactive Intelligence.  The blog, Lessons from Lego: Confessions of an enterprise collaboration addict and toddler mom, is a short read but certainly one to bookmark.

Clarkin uses a toy cleanup session and the beauty of Legos as a great toddler joy creation platform, and for that matter a platform for children of all ages, as analogous to enterprises cleaning up their tool boxes and using the best platform to get knowledge worker buy-in on using UC and collaboration tools to improve operational excellence and customer interactions.

Without stealing the pleasure of you reading the blog, what resonated with me, as a dedicated Lego fan,  was Clarkin’s observation about Lego utility not just because of their universal appeal but because, “Kids come back to Legos again and again with new ideas, new friends, and new skills. And adding more friends to collaborate doesn’t exceed Legos’ capacity; it actually makes them better!”  After all, isn’t that what state-of-the-art UC and collaboration capabilities should enable, e.g., an environment that encourages sharing and knowledge expansion thanks to the wisdom of the group?

Clarkin’s categorization of attributes for a collaboration tool that meets business objectives, while pleasing users and getting them to become real-time collaboration-centric, also should resonate.  I paraphrase and take some commentary liberties below. This again is as an inducement to read the blog to get Clarkin’s full context. Her categories (in bold with comments) are:

  • Best of Breed – The need for a tool that is well beyond a point solution to assure optimized collaboration based on integration of information from other systems and functions.
  • Where’s the Manual? – Ease-of-use, as with Lego’s easing intuitive interlocking of its pieces, is crucial to creating a platform that workers want to make use of their interactions internally and externally.
  • All for Looks – Translated, this is utility (reliability, scalability and security) which trumps just looking good and being easy to use.  Again, the Lego analogy in terms of pieces being hard to break, components for exploring endless possibilities and safe for even toddlers, makes sense.
  • Some Assembly Required – Yes, in order to be future ready having the right building blocks to be future ready is critical as well.  For anyone who has Lego and gets the updates on cool things you/your children can build, knowing that you have backwards compatibility, don’t need a fork lift to create something pleasing and can do so at incremental cost is why you invested in Lego in the first place.  It is also a great lesson when evaluating the enterprise UC and collaboration platform you invest in.

The last point about some assembly required may be the most important.  The benefits of enterprises maximizing the use of UC and collaboration tools, for internal interactions as well as those in contact centers as they migrate to omnichannel capabilities are well documented.  However, getting knowledgeable workers to actually use UC and collaboration tools and obtain the full value they provide, is something else.

Just to be clear, Clarkin is not suggesting the hot industry buzzword “gamification” as the path to adoption.  What she correctly is pointing out is that enterprises with the right/best platform for providing compelling interactions of all types can learn a lot from having that first set of Legos and literally and figuratively building on it. The end result is creating enduring joy which in the context of business is enduring value.   

Edited by Eric Adams