The evolution of enterprise communications

In many ways, technology advancements mimic the swinging motion of a pendulum. Creation inspires innovation, innovation breeds disruption, and disruption promotes creation.

Enterprise communication systems were once considered the undisputed hotbed of innovation with features such as voicemail, call forwarding and recording influencing the way individuals communicated personally and professionally.

Today the rate of invention in personal communication has vastly outpaced its enterprise counterpart, shining a light on the shortcomings of the outdated legacy hardware still permeating offices.

>See also: Top 5 communications trends on the IT agenda

The evolution of personal communications is driven by an ever-growing number of applications creating new and exciting ways to engage and connect, and teams want these experiences translated into the work setting.

As we look ahead to 2016, ‘appification’, real-time collaboration and integration are three areas that (if properly invested in by the enterprise) will reinvent how teams interact with one another and their customers.

It’s an app world

The modern workforce is constantly on the go. In June of 2015, Gartner revealed that mobile phone sales will reach 2.1 billion units by 2019. And by 2017, mobile app development services will grow at least five times faster than internal IT organisations’ capacity to deliver them.

This concept isn’t entirely new – workers have been moving away from the landline and toward app-filled mobile devices for over a decade. Now, businesses are playing catch-up by looking closely at how people communicate in their personal lives, with a focus on the end-user experience.

As mobility continues to dive further into our personal and professional lives, businesses that embrace the appification of their workplace will be the ones on top. And the more teams are encouraged to use high-performance, forward-thinking applications to manage communications, the more productive, resourceful, and interconnected they will become.

Today’s workforce has come to expect real-time connectivity that mirrors the way they do business, share information and collaborate. A study by Wainhouse Research found that 94% of companies utilising video conferencing saw an upsurge in productivity among their teams.

While video conferencing has existed for decades, an overwhelming majority of businesses are increasing their use of video, a trend that has picked up over the past two years.

Face-to-face interaction without the need for physical presence has enabled global workforces to build stronger relationships with colleagues and customers.

The future of business collaboration will rely even more heavily on innovation in video and web conferencing to solve intricate collaboration challenges associated with today’s increasingly mobile and social workforce.

The rapid expansion of devices and capabilities, compounded by the proliferation of BYOD in the enterprise, has significantly transformed how people conduct business.

This reality has placed greater pressure on the IT function to manage connectivity between multiple solutions using an archaic hardware-based infrastructure.

Most organisations have existing communication investments. Integrating new offerings into those existing systems is essential to make them accessible and increase adoption.

Enterprises don’t want multiple vendors, particularly if their solutions don’t speak the same language. They want a simplified experience on a secure platform.

The year of the lightweights

Teams have come to expect the same best-in-class experiences in the workplace as they do in their personal lives. These expectations will only be met if they are supported by the right infrastructure.

It may sound simple, but investing in the right communications tools can empower and excite workforces in ways they never imagined. It can unify and inspire new business processes and workflows, and drive richer interactions and increase productivity.

An essential part of delivering simplified, consistent experiences – from mobile to tablet to desktop – is first embracing the shift from on-premise hardware systems (the heavyweights) to cloud-based, software solutions (the lightweights).

Lightweight solutions effortlessly tap datasets for organizations to create a path of least resistance. How? By providing real-time access to resources wrapped in a friendly user experience.

New cloud-based app solutions will continue to redefine business communication, and disruption will continue to shape the narrative of this market throughout 2016.

Communication tools, from the PBX desk phone to the contact center and audio conferencing solutions, have been the mainstay for years, but they’re no longer able to keep pace.

>See also: How the use of unified communications will evolve

Legacy systems are creating more complexity as users move toward high-touch, multi-channel communication. Software-based solutions are nimbler and scalable to deliver enhanced functionality.

By 2016, more than 50% of large and midsize organizations will be running some unified communications (UC) applications in either private or public clouds.

As we witness the pendulum of technology continue its inevitable swing from creation to innovation to disruption and back toward creation, outdated legacy offerings will be left behind in favour of lightweight solutions that facilitate collaboration and make distributed workforces more agile and productive.

In the process, organisations will begin to realise the full breadth of features and capabilities that come with adopting and deploying a modern, unified communications platform.

Sourced from Steve Kokinos, CEO, Fuze

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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