- John Lee CBC/Radio-Canada’s Executive Director, Media Technology Services
- France Bigras CBC/Radio-Canada’s Executive Director, Information Technology
This year, fundamental changes will take place in how CBC/Radio-Canada employees communicate, collaborate, and undertake their jobs. In fact, the “perfect storm” of change in communications is coming.
Specifically, the Corporation will be introducing several projects at once over the course of the year, and they will transform the way in which we work and collaborate with our colleagues and partners. Namely, the introduction of Google Gmail in the Cloud and its associated ecosphere of applications; IP Telephony and Unified Communications; an associated drive to “cut the cord” of desktop telephones (not to replace them with IP handsets whenever possible); and, finally, the replacement of all mobility devices in the Corporation with the migration to Rogers. The sum total of these initiatives will provide a modern, open, and collaborative environment, allowing staff to do such things as videoconference on the fly from their desktop, laptop, or tablet; collaborate in real-time on documents and social networking sites from different locations; chat; enjoy a richer mobile experience; as well as work more easily and effectively whilst away from the office, amongst other things.
Staff from coast-to-coast will experience these changes individually and personally; e.g., on their mobile devices, their desktops, and in their offices.
The drivers behind these initiatives are fundamental business issues; i.e., the replacement of antiquated software and hardware solutions, the drive to save money and reduce CBC/Radio-Canada’s capital asset footprint, as well as the need to continue evolving our business in a world that is becoming increasingly social, where new technologies are being made available to consumers at a very rapid pace. All of these goals will be met by the coming changes.
The new tools to be offered hinge on the ability to better collaborate and communicate from anywhere, at anytime, and through various means and devices, providing us with new options and capabilities. Conventional management wisdom informs us that improved collaboration reduces decision-making time, enhances the quality of both products and decisions, and even makes the organisation more nimble in its strategies. Existing work processes can be improved and new ones created. The greatest dividend occurs when three Venn diagram “sets” maximally intersect: high staff interaction, great expertise and creativity, and large amounts of reference information. There are few organisations that can be characterised in the same fashion as CBC/Radio-Canada: a company with highly motivated, creative people with access to useful assets coupled with a wealth of information. The new tools to be introduced this year should only energise the possibilities available to the Corporation. The greater the acceptance and use of collaborative tools, the greater the impact on positive performance will be.
An obvious question is how to introduce such change in a large organisation without creating chaos, which could result in demotivated employees and a loss of management credibility. Organisational theory again provides us with an answer that shows us the way forward: communication is the key.
The first step is to inform and secure executive support for these changes. At its most senior levels, the Corporation must understand, agree, and support all of these initiatives and investments. Secondly, we need to communicate clearly and often with all staff impacted by these changes – this should be in writing, using all available means. Those involved in directing these changes must be available on a regular basis to hold face-to-face information sessions, webinars, Q and A events, and the like. Additionally, influential personnel within the areas affected will be involved in the process at an early stage.
To date, reaction from staff to these initiatives has been positive, even enthusiastic. Our current email system has been in use for approximately fifteen years, our incumbent mobility supplier for almost ten, and our PBX telephony system has been in place for decades. Fatigue with the status quo exists and renewal is more than welcome. Gmail is already a pervasive consumer commodity and many employees, particularly those belonging to the millennial generation, already own the latest Android or iOS devices and have “cut the cord” of their home telephone, or never had one in the first place.
The introduction of these systems signals a positive change for CBC/Radio-Canada and the Corporation’s staff as a whole.