2The CompanyBritish multinational oil and gas company headquartered in London, United KingdomOperations in over 80 countriesAs of January 2012, the company has a total of 83,400 employees
3BP’s Birth of the Virtual Team Network Needed a network to allow people to work cooperatively and share knowledge quickly and easily regardless of time, distance, and organizational boundaries.The network began in 1995 as a $12 million pilot program in BPX.BP Purchased PCs that featured videoconferencing capability, electronic blackboards, scanners, faxes, and groupware.In 1996, Chief Executive John Browne made the virtual team network available to everyone at BP under one condition: they had to pay for it out of their own budgets.By July of 1996, the virtual team network had grown to 1,000 PCs
4Benefits of the BP Virtual Team Network A big drop in the person-hours needed to solve problems as a result of improved interactions between land-based drilling engineers and offshore rig crews.A decrease in the number of helicopter trips to offshore oil platforms.The avoidance of a refinery shutdown because technical experts at another location could examine a corrosion problem remotely.A reduction in rework during construction projects because designers, fabricators, construction workers, and operations people could collaborate more effectively.
6Competition in business is highly competitive and those companies that successfully employ new technologies become more agile and responsive; those that don’t often find themselves struggling just to keep up.
7Today many businesses are using Unified Communications such as VoIP and mobile as an advantage in this competitive world.Also many businesses are using team collaborative tools such as online whiteboarding, shared applications and team workspaces, allowing dispersed employees to work together more effectively.
8The forward thinking companies are adopting blogs, podcasts, wikis, tweets and other similar technologies into their work environment.The result of companies intermingling these pop culture tools with corporate tools is a powerful convergence of technology known as Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C).
9Using UC&C companies are able to have geographically dispersed teams that work more cohesively and can make better and quicker decisions when they can connect on the fly.These UC&C tools allow virtual teams to operate with greater agility so they can navigate through difficult market conditions and explore new opportunities.
10Benefits of UC&C-Enabled Virtual Teams Ability to find the best global talentA just-in-time workforceReduced costs of business travelDecreased relocation expensesFaster product developmentBetter employee work/life balance
11Challenges of Implementing a Successful UC&C Environment Overcoming distance and timeEstablishing culture, trust and leadershipUsing technology and communications effectively
12Role of IT: Supporting the Business Unit Just as IT business analysts work with internal clients to adapt business automation software to employee needs, they will need to do the same for collaborative technologies. To do this, IT must acquire a comprehensive understanding of the team processes that the UC&C technology will support.
13Types of Tools Presence-Driven Technology These tools allow the ability to facilitate spontaneous, highly productive interactions.Real-time tools such as video, audio, and web conferencing are valuable for managing virtual team meetings.
14Types of Tools Message-Based Tools , wikis, discussion forums, blogs, podcasts, document management systems, and more—organized into easily accessible team portalsThese tools come in handy for teams that don’t share working hours.
15Types of Tools Relationship/Team-Building Tools This is a class of software that may not be as obvious to business managers but can nevertheless be highly beneficial to teams are social networks similar to Facebook or LinkedIn.
16ConclusionOrganizations are discovering that virtual team processes can positively contribute to corporate operations and influence how companies adapt to business challenges.UC&C-enabled virtual teams can not only match productivity levels of traditional teams, but offer advantages that are not possible with colocated workers.