All posts by Danny Ramos

Danny joined ReadyTalk in June 2014 as part of our Inside Sales team, though he joined our Innovation Department in April 2016. A fan of human beings and tech, he is responsible for analyzing Customer Insights for ReadyTalk. Originally from Florida, Danny is the worst person to follow on Twitter (@uglyshirts_) while the Florida Gators are playing any sports. When he’s not yelling at the TV, you can find him hanging out with the feline love of his life – Phyllis.

Don’t Get a Desk Phone

So there’s a phone on my desk that presumably cost ReadyTalk a lot of money, but I’m going to be honest with you: I don’t actually use it and I don’t really even want it. Ever since I said goodbye to my sales role and joined the Innovation department last April, I’ve probably used the phone on my desk no more than 15 times. The last person I spoke with on my office phone was my mom.

Oh, and by the way — it’s my job to do customer interviews (talking to people, usually on the phone) for said Innovation department … and I still don’t want a desk phone.

the desk phone that's never usedI know I am not alone when I say that I hate talking on the phone. Many of my millennial kin are also averse to making phone calls.

It’s no surprise, then, that text-based communication services like Slack and Facebook Messenger have taken off, with younger users who came up through the ranks of AOL Instant Messenger. Plus, I really like the iPhone I carry around with me everywhere anyway — why can’t I just use that for everything?

Well, for me and people like me, we are fortunate to live in the times of cloud communications with unified communications (UC) clients. Shameless plug alert: A robust hosted solution, like ReadyTalk’s Hosted Voice offering, can allow organizations to embrace BYOD, empower their workforce for mobility, prepare themselves for the future of communications, and turn them into a top destination for prospective employees.

Accepting that Millennials will be dictating office behavior for the foreseeable future, let me explain why the move away from desk phones isn’t all bad for IT Directors (and maybe HR, too):

Embrace BYOD and empower your workforce for mobility

You know better than I do that BYOD (bring your own device) isn’t going anywhere. When I was at my last company, an anti-virus provider, there was some fleeting hope that IT departments may be able to at least stem the tide of personal devices on professional networks. Alas, that never actually happened. The smartphone has revolutionized how we get work done; embrace that change and save yourself the headache of managing hardware while leaving upgrading devices to your end users.

Prepare yourself for the future of communications: Video

Video isn’t coming, it’s here. There will be no communication medium more important in the future of work than video (Shameless plug number 2: FoxDen, our video conferencing product is pretty cool). You know what can’t do video right now? My desk phone. You know what can do video right now? The smartphone sitting on my desk.

Turn your company into a destination for the job seekers of the future

budget beatersSo there’s this whole remote work trend … that’s only increasing. More and more, folks are looking for flexibility from their employers as to where they can work. The number of websites for remote job seekers has exploded of late and the ability to offer a remote experience to employees is becoming a more important differentiator for employers. This is particularly salient considering the inches of snow we’re receiving in Denver today. I can’t drive in, but I can still work.

If you already have desk phones, don’t fret. The best part about a well-designed hosted voice solution is that it should be able to insert itself into your existing environment without any issues — all while driving the benefits outlined above. There’s no need to rip out existing infrastructure, though a move to a hosted voice solution could provide a great opportunity for hardware consolidation.

Make smartphones smarter and still use Polycoms

I mentioned above that I do customer interviews but I don’t use my desk phone — that’s because I typically take advantage of our huddle rooms (equipped with phones) for their privacy. Not only could you reduce the hardware you need to manage today, you can cut back on the hardware you have to buy in the future as employees can be provisioned on their smartphones. There will always be some employees who need a desk phone (Hello, Sales across the globe) but even they can benefit from a softphone client on their personal devices. That means they can accept phone calls on-the-go, including from their houses or on the train to ensure they make that deal.

Goodbye desk phone, hello cloud phone

The move to ReadyTalk’s Hosted Voice hosted communication solution will empower your employees to do their jobs better because it will enable them to work how (and where) they’d like to. It will also save organizations a ton of headaches around technology management.

What’s Next for ReadyTalk Innovation

In late 2014, ReadyTalk set out to do something that it had never done before – take a Lean approach to some homebrewed intrapreneurship. The project was UbiMeet, and we wanted to help make users more productive and make their meetings better. We focused on pre-meeting preparation and post-meeting deliverables, with particular attention on agendas and action items. The first iteration of UbiMeet went live in March 2015, just a few months after the idea was born. While we had some early interest, we found that meetings could only be improved if folks committed to putting in the work – something we were not making easy enough. UbiMeet temporarily shut its doors in June, only to be reimagined as a personal productivity tool that could be used by individuals in September 2015. Even though we had 1200 sign ups, and learned a lot in the process, we made the decision to shut down UbiMeet last month to focus on some different innovation initiatives.

UbiMeet was an incredibly valuable experience because it exposed us to a bevy of tools and techniques for launching a product under a different brand. More importantly, it was a critical step in shaping how we think about building products at ReadyTalk moving forward. Now we are going back to the drawing board to figure out what’s next. Because of UbiMeet’s focus on agendas and action items, it felt like a natural transition to learn more about how people manage their work, so that’s where we started. Staying true to Lean principles, we decided to set up a series of customer interviews with members of ReadyTalk’s Summit Club.

We wanted to learn how people were leaning on task management apps to keep track of their work and the work they have delegated out. The choice to focus on task management apps was biased by my personal reliance on them, Todoist in particular. I have stated in the past that I am a shameless Todoist evangelist and I use it both in my professional and my personal life. Todoist is my to-do list at work, my chore list at home, my grocery store list, and my weekly dinner menu. I even have my fiancee, the worst #millennial alive, using Todoist. Needless to say, I would be lost without it.

We focused on three main questions during our interviews:

  1. How are people managing their work today?
  2. How do they track work that they delegate out?
  3. How do they communicate decisions made and responsibilities to others?

As is typically the case when you try to get out of the building, we were able to glean some fascinating insights from our conversations. One thing we heard over and over again was that folks are still relying on email and in-person meetings to keep track of work they have delegated out to their direct reports. One of our interviewees indicated she had at least five meetings a week with her team, either as a group or individually, yet she is still struggling to keep track of work.

innovation

Another trend we noticed was that there was rarely ‘One System to Rule Them All,’ and most people were using a combination of different apps and analog solutions. Our interviewees listed CRMs, calendar apps, project management apps, Google Docs, email, in-person meetings, and notebooks as different tools in their productivity methodologies. We even had an interviewee who was using a tool to automate emailing out agendas and action items – a notion that felt very familiar! The same interviewee summed up this trend: “We use a lot of different systems and try to hack them together and communicate around them.”

These interviews were only the first part in our continued exploration of the problems that plague meetings and productivity. Ultimately, it feels like we are trying to solve a centuries’ old problem – how do you get people to do their best work, most efficiently? While we certainly do not have the answer yet, it feels nice to get back onto the horse of experimenting and ideating. As we ramp up our new innovation programs, be sure to keep an eye out for what comes next from ReadyTalk!

We would love to hear from you about how you are managing your work today as we continue this journey! Drop us a line at either daniel.ramos@readytalk.com or andrea.hill@readytalk.com and we will set up a time to chat.