Dialogic Blog

Addressing the Pains of Collaborating with External Parties

by Miguel Lopes

Feb 26, 2019 8:00:00 AM

15245-blog-collaborating-pains-imgI am sure many of you have been or are currently involved in a project with one or more partners or vendors that demand frequent update calls. Typically, you would set up a conference bridge, exchange files via emails and, if required, send an instant message (IM) via SMS or some other OTT application. Does this scenario sound familiar? As time goes by, the number of files, emails, and calls related to the project increases. If you are an ultra-organized person (I know I am not) who categorizes everything in your inbox and keeps notes of all the meetings, then this isn’t an issue. But if you are like me, you are going to have a hard time tracking a particular file in your email inbox or finding the location of a specific message.

Today’s professional solutions for this problem are limited. Most conference bridges or platforms typically don’t keep a permanent history of collaboration, and while some do, access is often restricted and most functionalities are not available for users outside an organization. Unified Communications (UC) in most cases only offers real collaboration options for users within an organization and not externally. There are a few exceptions, but they typically require that the external party use the same UC platform (e.g., Microsoft Federation), and even then an IT team may be required to configure collaboration to work properly. Other UC platforms are very good at collaboration, but miss the mark on the real-time communications capability. You still need to offer your partners/vendors the ability to dial into a collaboration room without the need to always use the software client. An IM-centric solution built on top of a robust collaboration framework isn’t enough – voice, and nowadays video, are still essential requirements.

Bottom line – you need a way to invite external parties to effortlessly collaborate using your UC tool without the need to ask IT permission, and to allow those external parties to use the same functionalities you have while limiting their access to only what you want them to see. You also need to make sure they don’t need to install any software or change any internal firewall rules for the software to work. One of the main reasons for the high adoption rate of OTTs targeted at consumers is the simplicity of installation and use by anyone. Business collaborators need that same simplicity but with the capacity to keep all the information within an organization. When a project is completed, you want to be able to revoke external access but keep all the historical data in an accessible place, with an advanced search capability. So, in a nutshell, you need the ability to offer quick, secure access to your guests to collaborate for as long as you need it, and no longer.

One of the critical features of the upcoming Dialogic BUZZ™ UC 2.0 release is the ability to create external users. Dialogic BUZZ users will be able to invite as many external users they want to collaborate in a Dialogic BUZZ Room, and these users only need their email address to register and then immediately start working from their browser without installing plugins or custom software. They can join scheduled or ad-hoc audio/video conferences, IM everyone or each individual participant in the room, initiate 1:1 audio/video calls with any participant of the room, and share files or screen share just like any other Dialogic BUZZ user. A Dialogic BUZZ Room is also accessible via PSTN in case one of the external users wants to dial-in at any time. Every IM, file, and interaction is searchable – and in a simple way so that the focus remains on the project itself and not on how to join the conference, share a file, or keep track of everything. But this is just the beginning as Dialogic BUZZ evolves and Dialogic adds integration with AI engines in the future, which will allow us to incorporate capabilities like detecting action points and stakeholders, thus automating task creation and indicating deadlines in each user’s calendar application.

The approach is simple. First, use Dialogic BUZZ to simplify the way you collaborate with your external partners/vendors. Next, once that milestone is reached, leverage technologies such as AI to further facilitate that collaboration and enhance productivity. Dialogic BUZZ 2.0 reaches that first milestone, and Dialogic is excited to take you to the next step in the future. Check out the Dialogic website to learn how Dialogic BUZZ can help you disrupt business communications today. And if you happen to be reading thing from Barcelona, stop by the Dialogic booth at MWC19 in Hall 6, Stand B62 and ask for a demo.

Topics: Unified Communications and Collaboration, Artificial Intelligence