IRESS fights Allen Curve, 'shotgun emails' with unified desktop

IRESS fights Allen Curve, 'shotgun emails' with unified desktop

COO says Yammer failed to drive collaboration

IRESS chief operating officer, Steve Barnes, addresses the CIO Summit. Credit: Ian Sharpe

IRESS chief operating officer, Steve Barnes, addresses the CIO Summit. Credit: Ian Sharpe

Australian software company IRESS hopes a unified desktop can bring global staff closer and make them more productive, according to chief operating officer, Steve Barnes.

IRESS, which makes financial market data and trading software for traders, has 14 offices and 1350 staff worldwide. The company last year completed a major acquisition of Avelo in the UK that nearly doubled its staff, he said.

To better connect employees, IRESS is rolling out a unified desktop by Jive to create a consistent experience for its workers around the world. The platform brings together email, document management and unified communications, including IM, video, voice and presence.

Addressing the CIO Summit in Sydney, Barnes said he hopes to overcome the Allen Curve, which describes an effect whereby the further people are physically located from each other, the fewer communications they are likely to have.

Barnes said he was especially interested in eliminating what he termed “shotgun emails”, in which employees send a question to many people because they don’t know who has the required expertise.

“They might send out an email to a distribution list. Let’s say that’s 50 people. One of those people on that list is the right person to help them or maybe not.”

The result, said Barnes, is that “50 people have read that email to work out they didn’t need to read it.”

With the new unified platform, employees can search profiles of their colleagues or access communities of interest to find the right expert without bugging people who can’t help, he said.

Making it easier for employees to find experts within the company also reduces costs, said Barnes. Before, employees would often quickly give up on finding help within the company and then seek more expensive outside help, he said.

IRESS previously used Yammer but found the Microsoft platform insufficient to encourage collaboration, said Barnes.

“One of the issues we’ve had [with Yammer] is that it’s been an off-to-the-side thing,” he said. “The challenge is to make this a core part of the desktop, so it is where people go to get stuff done.”

“We don’t want it to be the water cooler where you go when you’re not working. We want it to be the desktop that you have in front of you when you’re doing real work.”

Adam Bender covers business tech issues for CIO and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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Tags communicationunified communicationsjiveIRESSYammerunified desktop

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