Blog / Technology

As a technology company with start-up roots, agile has always been core to the way we work. But with teams distributed all over the world and continued growth, we’re more focused than ever to embrace new practices and tools that keep us working effectively together.

The so-called ‘instant messenger generation’ is having a big influence on the way companies work, and ours is no exception. People want to communicate in work the way they do outside it – in real-time and in a way that’s convenient for them - and it makes absolute sense.

Our teams need to collaborate cross-functionally, often across borders and time zones. Technology like video conferencing and real-time communication tools make that possible, bringing global teams together in a way that email and phone simply can't.

For those that are on the move a lot, like many of our people and remote workers are, not being able to effortlessly carry conversations on between devices is frustrating. Similarly, people that work flexibly or have just returned from vacation need to be able to pick up conversations easily, not spend ages sifting through and piecing together their inbox.

"The instant messenger generation is having a big influence on the way companies work and ours is no exception."

Real-time collaboration

It was these kinds of inefficiencies, and a desire to make working life easier for our people, that led us to shake up the way we communicate globally. So we introduced Slack, the workplace instant messenger platform used by the likes of airbnb, BuzzFeed, ebay and Samsung, and in doing so became the first fintech company of our size in the Asia-Pacific region to adopt it company-wide.

And it’s been a game-changer.

Bots and digital assistants

Our teams can have conversations and collaborate in real-time wherever they are, whenever they choose to. They don’t need to be in the room to catch important discussions, or be in an email chain to be in the conversation.

It goes far beyond chat and emojis. We use bots and digital assistants within Slack that simulate stand-ups and daily scrums for distributed teams, reducing the need for meetings and calls. Now our teams come together to action or unblock things, a much better use of everyone’s time.

We can monitor workflow and track progress on major software releases and upgrades in a more agile way, which isn’t just better for us but for our clients too. In fact, some of our clients that have started using Slack have invited us to their Slack instances too.

Community at work

It’s been exciting to see real-time collaboration in action. We’ve used it to virtually monitor and manage our services through critical real-time events, like when our teams across the world watched the markets open immediately following the BREXIT vote and American election. It also sparked ideas and 24 hours of continuous innovation in our Global Hackathon.

What’s really good though, is seeing the connections being made across the business and the community being built. People tell us that they feel part of something, and that’s pretty darn awesome.

"What's really exciting is seeing the community being built. People tell me they feel part of something and that's pretty darn awesome."

George Samuels, Community Manager, IRESS

This is just the beginning

As more international organisations begin to introduce real-time collaboration tools we’re proud to be ahead of the pack. With the future of work looking ever-more flexible, we’ve got the technology and infrastructure to be more agile in 2017 and beyond. Real-time, chatbots and digital assistants are just the beginning.

As a result of our new approach to global communications over 70% of our people say they feel more connected to people outside their team. We may be more dispersed, but we’ve never been closer.

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