As organisations move towards becoming a digital enterprise, they need to ensure that they are prepared to support the new way of work such as telecommuting. One way of doing so is by deploying collaboration tools. In an exclusive interview with CIO Asia, Lai Weng Yew, Vice President, Business Application Services, NCS, explained why this is so and provided tips on deploying such tools.
Lai oversees NCS' Consulting, Application Development and Management, Custom Software Development, Business Process Outsourcing, Enterprise Analytics & Cloud Businesses.
Prior to joining NCS, Lai was the Senior Director in Oracle's Industry Business Unit responsible for Tax Administration industry in the Asia Pacific Region. He was also Oracle's eGovernment Solution Director, in which he was responsible for conceptualising and promoting eGovernment solutions for clients in Asia Pacific. In addition, he was once a Senior Manager with Accenture's Government Operating Group in Singapore, where he managed projects as well as delivered on a number of strategic planning initiatives and large-scale government systems.
CIO Asia: Collaboration isn't a new concept, so why is there more emphasis for it today than previously?
Lai: As the world becomes increasingly globalised, organisations are looking to empower employees to work anywhere and collaborate across borders. Furthermore, increased competition for global talents has driven organisations to offer flexi work arrangements so as to attract employees, such as working mothers who are seeking work-life harmony, to join the workforce.
More importantly, technology has matured to the extent where "anywhere collaboration" can be realised. There are now more people owning enabling technologies such as tablets, smart phones, IP telephony and video conferencing tools. They are further supported by better access and connectivity via a rapidly improving high-speed broadband network.
Do collaboration tools such as video conferencing tools have a role to play within Asian organisations?
A lot of communication is non-verbal and reliant on visual cues such as facial expression and body movements. Voice-only communication may not convey the full meaning and intent of a message. Hence, video conference has an important role to play here. They allow a meeting to proceed as if all parties are in the same room. This minimises the need to move employees to a specific location, thereby optimising cost for the organisation. In addition, with employees needing to spend less time in transit, decisions are made faster and productivity improves.
What are some of the factors that organisations in Asia should consider when deploying and leveraging collaboration tools?
One of the key considerations will be security. With increased collaboration, the amount of sensitive information transferred over the network will increase correspondingly. Hence, when procuring collaboration tools, organisations should ensure that that the particular collaboration channel is fully secured and safe.
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