My journey with CommTech

young woman with long brown hair looking at a laptop with 3 colleagues in zoom squares.

Browsing through my internship project list at the beginning of the summer, I smiled, seeing multiple projects that excited me. Then I came across one that stood out to me: “Employee Experience CommTech Research”. 

What did that mean? Were they aware I had never seen the word ‘CommTech’ before? With help from the team, I began research on over 400 CommTech solutions, or as I learned, the software companies use to enhance their employee communications and organize the software to show its unique qualities and capabilities. This research would inform a larger tool to help companies find the right CommTech solution for them. 

What I learned was choosing the wrong CommTech product could cost a company valuable time and money. Companies spend thousands of dollars on CommTech a month and yet there wasn’t one place to go to analyze all of the tools available. That’s what my research was going to solve – helping these companies decide what would get them the most bang for their buck with the least hassle. The pressure was on. 

What I learned from analyzing 400 CommTech solutions were five key lessons easily applied to any CommTech search 

Lesson #1: Choosing one tool over another is risky. 

Some tools can cost companies a fortune every month, based on how many employees you have. That’s an incredible financial loss if the tool fails and your team cannot work with it. Beyond price, what if the tool doesn’t actually help in the way it was supposed to? If a company’s goal is to implement this new CommTech for communication between in-office and front-line workers, what if the app the front-line workers are supposed to use is glitchy, poorly made and ineffective? The company has now wasted time trying to teach people how to use a new tool, and they now have to find another CommTech to replace the one that didn’t work. Spend the time upfront narrowing down your company’s needs. Then you will be better positioned to find a CommTech solution to match. 

Lesson #2: Sites will tell you what they want to, which isn’t always what you need to know. 

Understanding the product and how effective it is for a team takes more than a quick glance at their ‘product’ page. Of course, they assume you know a little bit about their product, I mean you’re on their page, aren’t you? But wording such as, “employee communication” can mean entirely different things from one product to another, so finding out more takes digging. One company might use “employee communication” to offer a messaging platform while another company uses “employee communication” to offer a dashboard for collaboration, messaging, video and meetings. 

Lesson #3:  These tools are critical for companies to have right now. 

These tools will put your team at an advantage that will not only optimize your workflow but help you navigate the current climate, which for many of us, is working remotely. Technologies like an intranet might now take on new significance by connecting employees when few of us are in the office. If your team didn’t have strong online communication before working from home, the pandemic has brought about new urgency to use tools to find the best fit and increase productivity. 

Lesson #4: Your search should reach beyond product – it’s about your people. 

If you select a CommTech solution that requires lengthy training, explore whether the tool has great service or if people in your company are already familiar with the tool or tools similar to the one you are considering. For smaller tools, such as messaging, maybe this isn’t as important, however, when it comes to an intranet, mobile apps, employee feedback-gathering and onboarding automation, companies need to understand the ins and outs of the tool before they introduce it to their team. 

Lesson #5: Before purchasing, ask yourself: Does this integrate with our current technology?  

Along the way and after talking to people who have worked with CommTech much more than I have, integrations became a really important factor of my research, and in turn really important for you to think about before purchasing a product. Most companies are using tools already and need point solutions to simplify or enhance their employee experience. However, if they keep adding more and more tools the overall experience gets muddy between apps and sites. I learned how important it is that a new tool can integrate with existing tools your employees already have, for easier navigation and use.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I am a CommTech expert, but after analyzing 400 tools through the lens of specific criteria from the Page Society, I did learn the impact these tools can make and a lot of this is determined by how you choose the tool in the upfront.

Integral is launching a tool to help simplify this upfront process, so you don’t have to research 400 CommTech solutions. We know you’re busy. By simply answering a few questions on what you need in a tool, you will be presented with a range of options that match your needs. If you’re interested in learning more please get in touch!