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Ashok Krish
Global Head, Digital Workplace Unit
19 February 2021

In the last year, if there’s one activity, all of us have become exceedingly familiar with, it’s an online meeting. From what used to be a window pane with pixelated human faces, high-latency PowerPoint slide shows and compressed voice, unified collaboration has come a long way, and in a sense, has come of during the pandemic. Secure borderless work spaces have made unified collaboration even more of a business-critical capability. However, a common realization in many large enterprises is that while collaboration seemed to happen remotely, the “unified” part of that claim came under a fair bit of scrutiny. 

The idea of unified user experience of collaboration goes beyond smartphones and laptops connected to high-speed wireless or fixed line networks. The complexity of real-world corporations with operations spread around the world and a fast growing demographic of digitally connected front line workers has meant that the world of meetings has to be truly universal across modes of connectivity, ubiquitous across devices, omnipresent across applications, and increasingly straddle the physical and digital world to create “phygital” experiences. A smart conference room of the near future (in fact, Microsoft Teams has already demonstrated this capability!) will identify participants and transcribe meeting notes, assign tasks, bring up relevant data dashboards and rather counter-intuitively force us to spend fewer person hours in online meetings and more time being individually productive or actually brainstorming face-to-face. The definition of a smart meeting will also vary by industry roles and persona, with diverse connectivity options, infrastructure and application integrations. 

What are some of the best practices we have seen emerge in this space in the last one year?

  • Use the smart meeting application as a canvas: Create collaboration-integrated business application experiences instead of making employees constantly context-switch between different apps. For example, Workflows in Microsoft Teams channels help make decision making more inclusive and agile
  • Address different collaboration needs of users: Choose a persona centric unified communication rollout strategy with an integrated governance mechanism. For instance, a sales employee collaborates fundamentally differently from a developer
  • Make it seamless: Incorporate Direct Routing to connect to global cloud-based voice for calling any phone numbers in addition to meeting room experiences
  • Institutionalize adoption: You can rollout new technology, but adoption is important. Integrated adoption design, digital nudging based on usage analytics, and gamified change management through curated, personalized micro-learning are some recommendations to maximize adoption by the users in your enterprise.  


The key for the success of unified collaboration is to truly modernize the meeting experience and transform the culture of work to a work-out-loud style that is increasingly differentiating good companies from great ones in the post-pandemic world.  

From migrating to modern collaboration tools, bringing the legacy voice infrastructure into the world of smart meeting applications to truly transforming your voice and conference infrastructure to be relevant in the post-pandemic world, this is a journey that is as much about transforming the culture of collaboration as it is about communication infrastructure and cloud collaboration. Beyond voice and video, the future is also about bringing in systems of record into the unified collaboration canvas to create frictionless collaboration experiences for employees. TCS and Tata Communications (TCL) have come together to help organizations in this journey.

About the author(s)
Ashok Krish
Global Head, Digital Workplace Unit

Ashok Krish is the Global Head of Digital Workplace at TCS. Our Digital Workplace solutions help customers imagine the future of work for their employees. This team works at the intersection of design, technology, and behavioral science, and helps conceptualize and implement modern, persuasive, and immersive employee experiences. Outside of work, he is a columnist, musician, and a food science enthusiast.