A SAM professional who has been given a budget to build a SAM team recently contacted us to ask whether or not they can build an effective SAM team virtually, or if they need to physically have the personnel in the office. A recent poll by SHRM showed that 46% of organisations had some form of virtual team within their environment, so can SAM join that 46%?
Absolutely a SAM team can be virtual! There are a number of advantages of being in a virtual team such as:
Having a virtual team allows for greater flexibility with the work that can be done, and also when it can be done. Having a virtual team means that the members of the team can work at any time and they have greater flexibility when it comes to reacting to changes or challenges that may arise. The structure of the team can also change a lot easier with a virtual team, with less impact on time and resources when making a change.
Another advantage of having a virtual team is the fact that there are no geographical constraints to hinder the project or the team. This allows organisations to hire the best professionals from around the world, and have a team that can work around the clock. This obviously relates to other advantages, but it also allows organisations to have a foothold in a number of continents and countries without having a physical office there.
Hand-in-hand with having no geographical constraints is the fact that a virtual team has the ability to hire the best possible professionals from around the world. Being a virtual team means those organisations can hand pick the best SAM professionals from around the world to create an effective, efficient and expert team.
The speed in which the team can work can be improved in some scenarios. If the team members are working the equivalent of 24/7 (based on time zones) then as you can imagine work will be completed a lot quicker. If you have the best SAM professionals possible within the team, then the work will be completed quickly and to the highest standard.
Finally, the cost savings realised by having a virtual team can be huge. The organisation can save on office space, bills, hardware, travel and general expenses. The money saved can be re-invested into the organisation to help achieve the overall strategy and success of the organisation as a whole.
The argument for having a physical SAM team is more around the social aspect and personal issues. Despite the advantages of having a virtual team, there are also disadvantages that you don’t get with a physical team, such as:
Lack of face-to-face interaction and social interaction can have a negative impact on a team. Having a physical team all based within the office means that team members could interact with each other on a face-to-face level, and generally socialise and get to know each other. Not having this face-to-face interaction can leave to team members feeling disjointed, or distant from the other members of their team. People un-happy in a physical team can also feel like this, but the problems are easier to rectify or come to a conclusion. However, problems within a physical team can cause unrest and a hostile atmosphere for those going into work everyday.
Boosting the team spirit and togetherness of a virtual team can be a challenge, but this is also the case for a physical team. Another issue is trust. Virtual team members may not have the same levels of trust as a physical team. This could be due to the fact that they physically cannot see each other and interact with other team members on a face-to-face level.
Finally, having virtual team members from all around the world could result in cultural clashes or misunderstandings. This can be damaging to the overall team morale and levels of trust. It can also have an impact on the efficiency of the team members. It is important to always remember that other cultures may see things differently from you, but with that said software licensing, SAM and ITAM are a global standard. The terms of a license may be slightly different in certain territories, but you still need to adhere to the terms and conditions regardless of culture.
There is no reason as to why SAM teams in the future cannot be part virtual or even fully virtual. Like we’ve mentioned before, it is entirely dependant on the organisations structure and whether or not they want a virtual team.
Evren Esen, manager of SHRM’s survey research centre states “When virtual teams work, their productivity can be impressive, but getting them to function can be a challenge. Improved technology may help facilitate the use of virtual teams.” Having a SAM virtual team can work just as well as a physical team; it just depends on how the organisation wants to manage their SAM team. Both aspects have negatives and positives so both team formats need to be seriously considered before any decisions are made.
Personally, we think that the future may be in-between both a virtual and physical team. A SAM team that will be part virtual and part physical, with a rotation system for those physical users, and then virtual team members from other locations looks like it could be the viable option for global organisations. For smaller organisations a part physical part virtual team could be the future, dependant on how many users are in the SAM team.
There are very few occasions in which a SAM professional physically needs to be in the office. Face-to-face meetings are the only things that require a SAM professional to be in the office. All other SAM tasks can be done remotely from home, which suggests SAM teams should be virtual to save the organisation money.
The important thing to remember is that having a SAM team is extremely important, whether that’s virtual or physical. There are a number of pros and cons to both scenarios, and neither option is the ‘wrong option’. Whatever works for the individual organisation, and whatever fits in with the current environment is the right option to pick.
What do you think about having a virtual SAM team? Leave a comment below or get in touch with us to voice your opinion!