Teams - Remote and Virtual

by Claire Snowdon and Mark Bouch

Use of technology

Remote teams don’t necessarily need cutting edge technology to succeed, but taking advantage of the digital age can help effectiveness and provide some very useful communication tools.

Companies such as Cisco, Avaya, Lucent and others are investing heavily into tackling the technological problems of virtual and remote team working. They are doing this through unified communications (bringing all data – voice, video and other data into a single pipe), device agnostic access solutions (also known in some cases as endpoint virtualisation), and instant anywhere access solutions. This last, in particular, helps give sales and marketing teams the edge in their negotiations when they need it. Additionally, the challenges are not only limited to vitalising corporations internally, but now extend into supply chains and end consumers, bringing collaboration across the entire spectrum.

Internet and telephone technology makes it possible to have effective virtual and remote teams located anywhere. However, one needs to ensure that the technology, and how team members use it, does not become a barrier to effective communication. It has been shown that 90 per cent of remote team challenges are about people and behaviours, while only 10 per cent concern the effective use of technology. To deal with that 10 per cent, people need the appropriate training and technical assistance when things go wrong. It also helps if the team leader and anyone else responsible for setting up and organising the team, understands the capabilities and challenges associated with common remote working tools.

Below are some of the tools and technology that can be utilised by virtual and remote teams: