The fall season is officially upon us; leaves are changing color, temperatures are dropping and the “pumpkin spice” phenomenon is in full swing. For many, the change represents a fresh beginning. For business leaders, autumn may be the best time to re-evaluate their customer engagement strategies, especially as they finalize their 2016 budgets.
Video is a core driver of enterprise communications and collaboration, but we’re not just talking about traditional video conferencing. Today, video has evolved in such a way that business leaders can truly fire on all cylinders—that is, they can rely on the power of video for both external and internal purposes. In other words, organizations can utilize video not just for customer service but also for internal training, mentoring and educational purposes.
In Part 1 of this series, we explored the reasons that many business owners feel a “false sense of accomplishment” with their enterprise collaboration strategies: They are using the wrong collaboration tools—specifically, consumer-driven social tools like Facebook and Twitter.
ResearchandMarkets predicts that the global enterprise collaboration market will grow from $47.3 billion in 2014 to $70.61 billion by 2019. This market growth clearly indicates that business owners are investing in collaboration tools to improve internal communications, streamline operations and identify new revenue and growth opportunities. But in what kinds of collaborative tools are business owners investing? And are these investments really helping them to accomplish their end goals?
Earlier this month, Jive and Cisco revealed huge news: The two are combining forces to facilitate stronger enterprise collaboration. That means more immediate and impactful communications for companies that leverage specific collaboration solutions afforded from each brand. Organizations can benefit from Jive’s collaboration platform and Cisco’s real-time technologies, including WebEx and Jabber—a delectable combination for collaborative business leaders, we must say.
Can people work the way they live? In other words, can they rely on the same personal devices and applications for professional matters? Given the proliferation of social media and the large and ever-widening spectrum of Internet-connected devices, it would be a natural progression to use messaging apps for working smarter and generating more revenue.
Are You One of Them?
Unified communications makes daily responsibilities and tasks unbelievably simple for a ton of great reasons—something that has driven 84 percent of decision makers to deploy the technology within their own organizations. Combining all of today’s top communications channels into one centralized hub, employees have access to a one stop communications shop without having to migrate between different hardware or software when communicating and collaborating with customers, partners and colleagues.
Enterprises are warming up to the idea of a world run by emerging social business tools and strategies but, sometimes, they can fall too deep in the hole. By that, we mean companies can forget about the entire premise of social media in the first place: the fact that customers, brands, colleagues and internal staff are supposed to actually be social.
Collaboration can happen anywhere—including, and oftentimes, outside of corporate walls or the standard conference room. At Esna, we’re all about promoting the message that collaborative working strategies are applicable and advantageous for every industry or vertical and across all teams, no matter how unique or “out there” it may seem. That’s why when we stumbled upon a new report from Forbes, we couldn’t help but dig deeper.
The scene: a late night band rehearsal session. The vibe: growing increasingly tense. Alan Schaefer, lead songwriter for the band Five Star Iris, noticed that tonight’s rehearsal was nothing like the last session the the band had. After the band’s bassist commented that he wasn’t feeling it, Schaefer thought, “That’s frustrating…we were high-fiving leaving rehearsal last time.”
We are now officially a society where mobile phones outnumber people and smartphones have majority status. Mobile capabilities are ultimately the user’s third arm. No matter how much we may want to deny it, we depend on mobility for so much nowadays—including making our jobs easier and more efficient.
This increasing convergence of employees’ personal and professional lives is bringing about a new working era, which has forced IT teams to respond accordingly. As such, we’re seeing the consumerization of IT. In other words, to support this undeniable working movement, IT has been reorienting itself to cater to individual user needs.
Consider this: there will be at least one new social media platform created as you read this article—some of which will rise to become true game changers for enterprise collaboration. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of search queries are being conducted during this time and just as many e-mails are being sent. In fact, as of last year, the following took place every minute over the Internet:
- 47,000 apps were downloaded
- 639,800 GB of global IP data was transferred
- 1,300 new mobile users joined the social movement
- 277,000 Facebook users logged in
- 30 hours of video were uploaded
- 100,000 new tweets were posted
As you can see, social collaboration isn’t all about social media. Sure, social media plays an integral role, but at the end of the day, social collaboration refers to processes that help people interact and share information that help achieve a common goal. (see: pifalls to avoid here.)
Based on the above definition, social collaboration is a two-step process. The first step is identifying and embracing processes that help people interact and share information better. The second—and perhaps most important—step is having these processes achieve a common goal. This is ultimately the only way to gauge whether the processes you have in place are efficiently working.
The concept of “social collaboration” may seem too hyped up or 21st century for some business owners to boast any tangible return on investment, but this is growing to become one of today’s most widely-accepted business strategies (after all, we are working in the 21st century and social collaboration does live up to its hype). That’s probably why 75 percent of businesses were using social collaboration tools by the end of 2013 and why 86 percent will be by 2015, according to data from Clinked.com.
So, we have already discussed what social collaboration is. Now it’s time to discuss why social collaboration matters for any business looking to maintain its competitive edge now and in the foreseeable future.
Simply put, social collaboration matters because it reflects who we are. Be honest: how many times have you already checked into Facebook to see how many notifications you have? How many times did you compulsively check your iPhone to see what push notifications came up or how many hearts you got on that picture of your pet on Instagram?
Social collaboration is about taking these actions and integrating them into work processes to conduct business smarter, more efficiently and more productively than ever before. Remember: what we do for a living is a part of who we are. It’s only the most natural progression as the work environment continues to evolve and adapt.
Are you ready to embrace social collaboration? What social collaboration tools, if any, is your business using? Let us know in the comments below!
With texting, instant messaging, tweeting and more, many are quick to say that voicemail is “so last century.” Sure, these options have taken communication to exciting new levels, but you know what we say? Voicemail is far from obsolete—it’s just taking a new form, especially at the enterprise level.
Voicemail still remains a viable form of communication within the workplace; however, it needs to evolve to meet growing needs and demands within the corporate world. We may hate checking voicemails outside of the office but, during work, voicemails are crucial to getting business done.
It’s no longer a question of if companies are moving to the cloud, it’s a matter of when. Today’s workforce expects, and often demands, that the applications they use are cloud and mobile ready. When Google launched Google Apps in 2006 the team at Esna recognized a massive change was before us - consumers and businesses were moving to the cloud and we needed to be there. In 2009, Esna became the first company to integrate its unified messaging and unified communications solutions with Gmail. Since then we have watched Google Apps grow and continue to extend our integration of real time communications with Google Calendar, Google Docs, Hangouts and Google Chrome. Today more than 500,000 users have gone Esna and Google.
And our innovation continues. At this year’s Google Partner Summit, I’m pleased to announce several new solutions that go even further to communication-enable Google Apps and Chrome. We’re also delivering new developer APIs that make it possible for any Google ecosystem partner to add real time communication tools into any web application or web page. Here’s a high level overview of what we’re showing:
Contextual Collaboration in Google Drive
Esna takes collaborating with others in Google Drive to the next level by integrating real time communications and conferencing capabilities on anything stored in Drive. For example, users will be able to open any doc and Esna will detect all of the people who are collaborators and from that doc start a group chat or a audio or web conference.
Davide Petramala, Esna's EVP of BD & Sales, shares his thoughts on the future of collaboration and how Esna enables collaboration across a variety of cloud applications.