Video, Social Media Driving Enterprise Collaboration Changes
Enterprise Communication Strategies Are Being Transformed By Emerging Technologies and Trends
Cloud computing is giving enterprises and small businesses an equal opportunity to invest in cost-effective communication technologies that can strengthen collaboration and improve long-term operations. Unlike the office phone systems of the past, cloud-based offerings are more scalable, flexible and adaptable, giving them the unique agnostic characteristic to integrate with more than one application at the same time. This capability has encouraged companies to look toward unified communication systems, or at least the solutions that are commonly integrated into the platforms.
The evolving mobile landscape is one of the biggest drivers behind the adoption of new collaborative tools. This is largely because consumers are now using smartphones, tablets and other devices for more activities than ever before, including reaching out to contact centers and customer service representatives. If organizations do not have the communication tools that are in demand by their existing and prospective clients, decision-makers will find it harder to keep individuals engaged enough to make future purchases.
Businesses have recognized the need to be flexible with their communication strategies and have since moved away from using only voice platforms. While enterprise VoIP systems are still important and used throughout the business world, they are no longer the only contact method between employees and colleagues, customers and partners.
In addition to voice solutions, organizations are embracing two innovative forms of communication: video and social.
The Visual-driven Society
Now that individuals have greater access to sophisticated mobile devices, most of which come with built-in high-definition cameras, individuals are connecting visually more than ever before. This was highlighted in a recent Infonetics Research report, which noted that the global enterprise video conferencing and telepresence market generated $375 million in revenue in the second quarter of 2013, which was 6 percent higher than the value in the same quarter in 2012.
"After a tumultuous 2012 that saw growth in the video conferencing market screech to a halt, sales returned to year-over-year growth in the second quarter of 2013. While the long-term fundamentals look positive and will eventually drive renewed revenue growth, weakness in public sector spending and the move to lower-cost video solutions hamper a more robust recovery this year," said Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise networks and video at Infonetics Research.
Still, the revenue derived from PBX-based video solutions doubled within the past year as businesses sought more financially sound offerings, the report noted. In many cases, companies are integrating video conferencing into hosted PBX solutions, as doing so enables decision-makers to take advantage of even more cost-effective strategies while simultaneously experiencing the scalable and flexible benefits that are commonly associated with the cloud.
Yet voice and video are not the only enterprise collaboration offerings that are being deployed more frequently. Thanks to the consumerization of IT, organizations are also pursuing social technologies that improve user experience and satisfaction.
The Social Revolution
The use of social media outside of the workplace has encouraged businesses around the world to implement similar technologies and mentalities in the office in an effort to augment communication and collaboration. This movement is becoming more popular, according to a recent Oracle study of more than 900 marketing and technology executives, which found that 97 percent of respondents believe that successful organizations must become socially enabled. More specifically, nearly three-quarters of decision-makers think social media usage in the business world will play a critical role in how successful enterprises are in the long run.
"By weaving social capabilities into the fabric of their daily operations, organizations can achieve significant improvements in areas ranging from marketing and sales to customer service and employee collaboration. As this study shows, business executives now understand that creating a socially enabled enterprise can create better customer experiences, enable more responsive internal networks and drive organizational efficiencies. This combination gives organizations of all sizes a significant competitive advantage," said Meg Bear, group vice president of Oracle Social Cloud Platform.
Oracle noted that social media metrics in the enterprise are still in their infancy, as many companies are not sure how to measure its effectiveness. However, many professionals believe companies will become more comfortable using the technologies for business operations with the proper training and education, which will encourage employees to follow best corporate practices.
In general, the enterprise collaboration landscape is being shaped by emerging technologies and trends that will have a lasting impact on how executives and employees view the way they interact with each other, partners and customers. Business phone systems are still and will always be an important aspect of corporate communications, though they are no longer the only tools being used. Progressive organizations will recognize these transformations and develop customized strategies to ensure their use of next-generation collaborative tools results in success.