Cloud Is The Future Of Communication
Enterprise telecom does not look much like it used to. Where copper landlines once dominated, more connections are finding their way onto IP channels and - eventually - the cloud. Much of this shift is fueled by the changing requirements that enterprise users have of their networks. Collaboration is increasingly being accomplished via the Internet, with both parties acting remotely.
According to Forbes contributor Michael DeFranco, these changes have and will continue to fuel decisions regarding communications upgrades. This is thanks in part to the growing prevalence of mobile devices as the endpoint of choices for countless professionals.
"In 2015, I expect to see employees, especially highly-mobile ones, influence the solutions that their management decides to invest in," DeFranco wrote. "Those solutions will be sticky due to their simplicity – the opposite of cumbersome and complicated tools. They will tend toward solutions that help them do their jobs and that make their work more enjoyable. To that end, those vendors that offer intuitive, simple UIs will prevail."
The past year saw an increase in the number of companies turning to cloud communications. It is expected that in 2015, an even greater percentage of organizations will make the switch in some way or another. As the cloud proves to be an increasingly valuable tool for enterprise operations, businesses will implement it in as many ways as possible. Hosted UC will continue to become the status quo for communications.
The Rise Of Real-Time Communications
As the cloud becomes more prominent in personal and professional settings, more work is being done from places besides the actual office. This might have been considered difficult in the past, but technology has reached the point where working remotely can be more beneficial than traveling every day just to clock in. DeFranco said that this brand of productivity will increase in prevalence over the next year.
"As the population of remote workforces continue to grow in 2015, managers will seek out communication solutions that are more effective than email," DeFranco stated. "The solution is simple – channel and message alignment. Emails, quick messaging between individuals and even groups and instant group calls will coalesce fragmented workers, making them feel like they are in the office every day with their colleagues."
Email clients may have, at one point, been considered effective all on their own, but modern professionals need a wider variety of platforms that can handle more instantaneous communications. Voice alone will not do the trick either. Instant messaging, with its ability to indicate the "presence" of a contact, has proven to fill in some of the blanks left by other channels. Video also helps to facilitate the face-to-face communications that have historically been lost on the remote workforce.
Unified Communication Must Foster Collaboration
Connecting with someone remotely is no longer about communicating - it is about creating interactions that were once only available in-person. In some cases, it is even about improving on long-standing platforms. Unified collaboration and communication channels should be able to work together in addition to being conveniently grouped together. Rather than just cutting down on the time it takes to move between interfaces, proper UC systems can remove it altogether. Voice and instant messaging, for example, should be available together to create more immersive experiences.
According to No Jitter contributor and Verge1 Consulting President David Michels, the assets it will take to accomplish this are varied - but they include advanced telecom networks. This is due primarily to the larger changes that have occurred regarding how people reach one another.
"[T]eam collaboration comes in many forms - as specialized mobile applications, CRM add-ons, visual communications solutions, calendaring tools, content sharing systems, shared repositories, social sites," Michels wrote. "Collaboration comes in all sorts of new applications and from different industries."
This is what businesses will need to consider in the short-term future. An increasing number of professionals are skilled in the operation of these tools, and allowing them to work from beyond the office when desired - or required - can be a major help to the organization. Job satisfaction and productivity are likely to increase as a result because workers feel they have autonomy in their schedule and trust from their employer. It can also be more efficient than conventional methods of communication that are applied to interoffice messages.
"Cloud technology has moved this concept forward by making collaborative environments both accessible and cost-effective, allowing employees to connect from anywhere, using a cascading conversational style, much like the comment sections available on social media and on many news media websites," wrote CloudTweaks contributor Steve Prentice.
In order to best support the modern workforce, cloud unified communications systems will be essential. The evolution of technology is irreversible, and as more professionals discover what is possible through the cloud, demand will only increase.