One of the best things about the current technology era is how companies and their teams are creating user-centric experiences that make it easier for executives, managers, and employees to do their jobs. Technology vendors are embracing the "consumerization of IT" by which they are striving to more deeply understand the needs and preferences of their clients and design more user-friendly interfaces and experiences when compared to legacy applications and systems.
The ramifications for CIOs to deliver on these rising user expectations are significant. In a 2016-17 Deloitte survey of executives on the topic of IT leadership transitions, 74 percent of respondents said that CIO transitions typically occur when there is a general dissatisfaction among business stakeholders with the support that CIOs and their IT teams provide.
Chief among these are communications technologies that enable today's highly-distributed workforce to communicate and collaborate more closely with one another. "Advanced communication technologies are critical for connecting dispersed project teams and for strengthening employee engagement and performance," said Hunter Muller, President and CEO at HMG Strategy. "Research has shown that up to 90% of communications is non-verbal. Even in today's digital workplace, face-to-face communications has become more important than ever."
One technology vendor that's squarely addressing the demand for face-to-face communications is Zoom, the leader in modern enterprise video communications.
HMG Strategy recently caught up with Eric S. Yuan, Zoom Founder and Chief Executive Officer, on the importance of communicating the vision for delivering state-of-the-art employee collaboration and video experiences to the enterprise.
HMG Strategy: How is Zoom striving to reimagine the employee collaboration and video experience?
Eric Yuan: Look at the trends in the market. More and more teams are virtual (63 percent of companies today have remote workers/Upwork February 2018).
Second, traditional offices are going away. Third, more than one-third of workers in the U.S. are Millennials. Collaboration is becoming more and more important in project-focused organizations. We need to empower those employees to collaborate and to get things right.
The work we're putting into the Zoom platform is key to addressing these trends. Plus, we realize now that we not only leverage Zoom to collaborate but that employees are more engaged during video discussions instead of multi-tasking during conference calls. On Zoom, you're able too see each other and make that visual connection.
How do you communicate your vision for achieving the art of the possible with employees at Zoom?
EY: We have ten offices worldwide. At most, I only travel once or twice a year but I'm using Zoom every day to communicate with employees around the world.
By regularly using Zoom, I'm able to demonstrate to employees what's possible with the platform. If I'm in California and you're in New York, we're able to shake hands using the platform. It's reliable and easy to use and employees have counted on that.
For companies to succeed, trust is everything. It's absolutely essential to provide employees with a trusting environment. Trust is the foundation for speed and for moving forward.
It's very important because your employees may not all be in the same offices - they could be in remote offices, there are home workers, etc. Email is not an intimate experience and by human nature we often multitask. Video communications is very different -- it's more engaging and a more personal form of communications and it helps to strengthen productivity.
How would you characterize your leadership style in galvanizing the team around your vision?
EY: I feel my style is pretty straightforward. I truly care about our employees, our team, our company and our customers. "What more can I do?" is a question I constantly ask myself. Open communications is a given in business today.
What are the top challenges Zoom has faced in its go-to-market strategy over the past few years?
EY: The Number One challenge is around the brand. Even if you have a great product, if a prospective client has never heard of Zoom, why would they take the risk of adopting our platform? The only time we've ever lost a deal is when a prospect tells us they have no interest in changing.
The Number Two challenge is maintaining that culture of a small company as you're growing into a larger company.
How do you help foster a culture of innovation at Zoom?
EY: It comes down to our values of caring for our customers. We listen closely to customer feedback and incorporate that customer feedback into new features and new use cases. Having open communication and being receptive to customer feedback is key. As long as we do that, we'll be fine.
What are you most passionate about?
EY: What I'm most passionate about is making our customers happy, improving their communications, productivity and culture.