Legacy companies like Cisco and Microsoft have dramatically shaped our work lives. Those old enough to remember the electric typewriter will recall the joy of time saved when the word processor graced our desks. When the mighty Cisco introduced video allowing us to see colleagues at another location, we realized how awkward it is to include virtual colleagues in the meeting, a learning curve that helped bring teams together in a new way. Bottom line is this: Cisco and Microsoft gave the workplace the gift we all want more of--time. Until now.

Today, executives are looking for solutions that facilitate rapid progress and giving employees the tools to collaborate, create, and execute quickly. It used to be that Cisco's Webex conferencing solution was the default standard for group collaboration. The reality is an audio and video solution cannot meet the needs of today's workers, let alone the upcoming generation's expectations.

If your company wants to innovate and attract top talent, it is time to carefully evaluate the technology you will need to win in the marketplace. Central to this task is looking ahead and not in your rearview mirror.

The Forces Shaping How We Work

The World Economic Forum identified seven disruptors changing the way you work. "Technology will be everywhere" is one one of the seven the WEF identified. Mix this trend with how Millennials and Gen Z have influenced the way we rely on our devices to communicate with one another.

In a recent Adobe study on the views of technology and work, over 80 percent of the global workforce says technology helps them be more efficient. At the same time, over 70-80 percent look to technology to help them collaborate with their peers.

In a different study by the World Economic Forum, 44 percent of respondents placed work flexibility as their top perk. In a 2017 report from Deloitte, the consulting giant put culture at the top of the list that demands executive attention.

In short, the future of the workplace is driven by technology. To realize the capital investment in new information technology, it requires a culture that helps employees work with ease.

It's the last two sentences above that should have companies like Cisco and Microsoft worried.

Eating the Legacy Companies' Lunch

Talking to a phone does not help people connect and collaborate. "A phone call is the best way to collaborate," said no one ever. Today's employees are using Slack to communicate across teams. Work is done using Adobe's suite of creative tools (think Photoshop, InDesign, Audition) and its favored PDF software. 

Though the legacy companies offer video to replace the dreaded phone, it becomes one more app to use. The value of video meeting solutions like Zoom or RingCentral is they are affordable, offer a consistent experience, and are easy to implement across the organization.

This is where a company like Bluescape makes the ecosystem of apps and tools a seamless experience. With Bluescape, you can bring together in one system Slack, Adobe, Zoom, Microsoft documents, Dropbox, Google Apps tools, and more.

So, instead of shuffling through a bunch of screens or struggling with wonky cameras, imagine a collaboration command center. Perhaps this flexibility is why Fortune 50 companies and movie makers are now using Bluescape and Slack. Alternatively, perhaps this is why the two companies are teaming up to support the dynamic needs of today's modern workplace?

Yeah, We've Got That

A significant limitation to Microsoft and Cisco's collaboration technology is it limits companies to only their solution. If employees prefer Zoom over Skype, they cannot use it. It doesn't integrate seamlessly into the legacy companies' products. Slack? Nope.

The future of collaboration is one-part technology and one-part human dynamics. When a preferred tool can better facilitate progress, but it falls outside a complete solution, user adoption suffers. 

Replace the boneyard of apps no one uses with a philosophy of "yeah, we've got that app, too." A secure, open architecture solution eases IT's security concerns and offers your employees access to the tools that fit the way they work best.

The Collaboration of Collaboration Solutions

Yes, collaboration is more than technology. It is also humans working together in a manner that adds to the employee experience.

Rich Sheridan, CEO of Menlo Innovations, a software development company, says technology needs to do what it promises. He believes this brings people joy. There is something to his philosophy.

Companies like Bluescape, Slack, and Adobe are replacing the frustrations and disappointments that come with technology that does not deliver a predictable, joyful experience for your employees.

I'll leave you with this thought. The one-to-one nature of a Webex meeting or listening passively to a PowerPoint presentation is passé and not collaboration. The future of work is centered on collaborative work environments. This includes offering flexibility and choice in the tools employees can use to collaborate and connect with one another.