Written by: Jeff Dann, President of RJ2 Technologies
How Business Tools are Evolving to Support the Virtual Landscape
2020 highlighted some critical business challenges which ultimately became the catalyst for transformational business environments for many organizations. Requirements for such a rapid deployment to a remote work environment by entire organizations tested Business Continuity Plan’s readiness. A well-designed Business Continuity Plan to rapidly transition people is important, but most plans were designed around short-term strategies and not permanent business transformation.
Sure, working remote has all the known benefits of cost savings, time saving, flexibility and who does not like waking up to a warm cup of coffee and sitting down to answer email in your pajamas, but is it a long-term solution? The new reality of a more permanent remote workforce has potential to completely reshape the business culture, policies, human resource strategies and operational efficiencies of business…. and most are not ready for it? Numerous companies, in a relatively very short amount of time, are considering changing their operations to remain virtual or some hybrid arrangement and cutting back or abandoning the traditional office environment. We all know that change is difficult for many and home environments are not always efficient for employee performance. Distractions, honey do lists, spouses working from home, children home from school, deadlines, difficult to focus, and the list goes on with the same result, STRESS!
What is technology doing to provide some relief to this new virtual world we appear to be heading for long-term. The fact is technology developers saw the need robust communication platforms long before the pandemic. The creation of Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) is the integration of multiple communication channels and collaboration tools in the communications technology space. The promise is that it will increase productivity, spark innovation, and improve collaboration by providing resources to the virtual workplace. The expectation is that the impact on both business and employees will provide rich benefits in human visual interactions (directed towards virtual isolation), meaningful collaboration, resource availability to maintain efficiencies to ease the cultural transformation of the new virtual workplace. Big tech influence is benefiting from this movement but also potentially in a position of impacting or influencing your use of these platforms without protective regulation…. I will leave that issue for another article.
Fueled by advances in information technology and hosted communication systems, landscape for most business is no longer face-to-face, instead communications are provided by integrated tools set using several mediums including video conference calls, sharing computer screens, email, and text exchange mediums and more. Efficiencies aside, the issues are dependencies on technology-mediation in the communication process now is mainstream. Companies need to focus on the tools that work well together having integrated efficiencies for a reliable experience for all parties. UC&C is not about a checklist of features; it is about creating a holistic and dynamic approach to an organizational communication strategy and improve user productivity and enhance business processes.
To remain viable today, companies must be driven to innovate and embrace trends that promise to be transformative, and of course disruptive to the norm. UC&C will transform the workplace by providing a focus on the way people want to communicate and technology will continue to evolve to make communications more of a seamless human encounter.