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Thursday, 28 February 2013 10:26

Will there be an office in ten years’ time?

Will there be an office in ten years’ time?

As technologies change and develop at an ever increasing pace, and mobile workers become more common - where does this leave the conventional office? Will there even be an office in 10 or 20 years?

Published in Wellness & Ergonomics
Monday, 05 November 2012 17:08

The year it all starts coming together

The year it all starts coming together

The coming year will be characterised by convergence and simplicity: in devices, software, and how companies interact with their customers.  Everything points to a massive change coming.


We’ve seen significant shifts in technology and how it’s used over the past few years. But soon the impact of these developments will hit us, and we will realise the way we live and work has changed completely.


Ahead of 2012, Elingo expected certain trends to develop, and these forecasts were borne out in a big way.


The evolution of devices

A key prediction was that tablet computing would come to the fore. This turned out to be one of the biggest growth areas of the year; and it is showing no signs of slowing down.


In fact, tablets and larger smartphones are going to become increasingly prevalent as the desktop PC slowly disappears from the workspace.  As people cut back on the number of devices they use, we will see more convergence and evolution occurring in these devices – laptops will merge with tablets and tablets will overlap with phones, resulting in new all-in-one devices that streamline computing.


And consumer demand will result in the same convergence in the app and software space as people seek simpler, more streamlined ways to work.


Global vendors are preparing for this wave. Microsoft, for example, ahead of the Windows 8 release, is enabling an environment where one operating system will function in the same way across multiple devices.


The rise of the road warrior

This change in computing is coming on the back of a steadily increasing road warrior workforce.  Not long ago, mainly salespeople were on the road. Today, enterprises want their entire workforce enabled for mobile productivity. You’re seeing everyone from sales and marketing to support and financial clerks going mobile and using devices like tablets to connect to the enterprise from their customers’ premises.  


Empowering the mobile workforce means equipping them with efficient mobile devices with serious processing power and the ability to access their enterprise systems and desktop tools from anywhere, at any time.


In the quest for a more streamlined and flexible working environment that allows for this, we will see greater interoperability in both the hardware and software arenas.  Inevitably then, proprietary systems will become a handicap, and cloud applications will proliferate, making integration and seamless workflow become the norm.


Social media reinvents the enterprise

The coming together of previously separate entities is a trend that is impacting the relationship between enterprises and their customers too.


As we predicted last year, social media use has increased dramatically, and we see no signs of this slowing down. Social media has united and empowered billions of people around the globe, and these individuals expect to be able to interact with enterprises in the same direct and immediate way they can connect with the world.


Social media will revolutionise the way enterprises – specifically contact centres – are run, as consumers demand direct and immediate access to companies, using a channel they prefer.  This is changing the way executives respond to consumers too: the lines to top management, which were once non-existent, are now opening up.


We are seeing local contact centres embarking on major shifts from call centre to multi-channel contact centre to cater for this new demand.  This move benefits consumers, who now have direct access using the channel of their choice, but it also benefits the contact centre, which is able to use the vast amount of information residing in social media platforms to identify each customer and gather important data about them.  Payment via social media is a relatively new development that will likely show steady growth over the next few years.


A brave new world

In recent years, we’ve seen some significant shifts we may not have been aware of. But technology has matured, the way people interact has changed and everything’s coming together to cause a sea of change in the way people exist.  We’re entering a new era, in which individuals and enterprises are more empowered and more connected, and innovation thrives.

Published in Technology
UC projects fail when they don’t heed cultural impact on organisations

Unified communications (UC) is changing the way organisations operate, as their employees tend to be more available, productive and effective when invested with UC tools.

But report published in July from analyst firm Canalys points out that many UC deployments fail or don’t meet their goals because their cultural (people) impact and the related contexts of IT consumerisation ‘BYOD’ (bring your own device) and workforce mobility are ignored.

In Tellumat, we are in agreement that many UC failures can be avoided by approaching projects as a business transformation process in which the user experience is central.

Three key trends

Consumerisation is the increasing use by employees of technologies like smart phones, iPads, video and social networking tools in the enterprise.

As Canalys points out, organisations that fail to assimilate and take advantage of consumerisation (for instance, with a BYOD strategy) will find themselves increasingly at a disadvantage against competitors.

For example, organisations that aren’t visible on in social media will become remote from customers who want to communicate via an increasing number of channels. (Conversely, UC solution providers that do not recognise the touch points of the technology with consumerisation and BYOD will at the very least miss the opportunity to leverage existing consumer platforms.)

Vendors and partners must also advise customers on the impact of workforce mobility, on processes and information accessed by employees.

Workforce mobility is not a new concept, but due to the consumerisation of IT and BYOD, it is a rapidly accelerating trend, making it an IT priority.

The proliferation of mobile devices provides employees with greater access to tools like video collaboration. Increasingly, employees want to access business applications and social media while on the move. If mobility is not considered as an integral part of future UC strategies, then the investment will be wasted.

Expert guidance

To accommodate these trends in employees’ everyday workflow, organisations will need guidance from experienced UC partners. Issues that have to be thrashed out include:

  • The decision about which platforms to support (iOS, Android or BlackBerry),
  • The changing security ecosystem, and
  • Networking (the number of devices without Ethernet ports is on the increase).

But it goes deeper than processes and architecture, touching the very core of an organisation’s objectives. Technologies like UC, BYOD and mobility have impact far beyond the scope of just an IT department purchasing decision. They affect management, HR, marketing, sales, R&D and back-office integration, in countless new ways.

To prepare for the impact of the new technologies and accommodate them, organisations must ask themselves what they want the technologies to achieve, and within what parameters. The following considerations are common:

  • Organisations must work through changing access modes and trust accords very closely and apply corporate policies as well as IT security measures accordingly.
  • Education of employees is a crucial aspect of a holistic UC deployment: employees must understand their responsibilities and obligations in a world where they are able to freely move sensitive data from device to device and location to location.
  • Equally, the corporate culture of the organisation must embrace trust and openness in a mobile, UC-driven, BYOD environment, so that employees are able to take more rapid but well-informed decisions.
  • UC deployments that incorporate collaborative tools and social media work most effectively when the deployment is aligned with business goals such as improving customer satisfaction or streamlining decision-making processes.
  • Collaboration must enable individuals to identify other individuals in order to be able to freely form communities that can quickly come together to tackle specific company issues.

All these and more must be keen focus areas in the purchasing decision, to ensure that the organisation is prepared for the big changes that UC can bring, and that benefits will be realised.

Published in Mobile
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