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.
Research shows that the average American will own five Internet-connected devices by 2017. Furthermore, according to the most recent research available from the United States Department of Transportation, Americans make over 400 million long-distance business trips every year.
Recently our team traveled to sunny Orlando, Florida, to attend Enterprise Connect 2015, the leading event surrounding emerging communication technologies like WebRTC, wireless, video, unified communications and cloud.
When it comes to technology, government organizations can appear immovable, themselves governed by archaic underlying infrastructure that doesn’t truly support seamless, embedded communication and collaboration. But as technology continues to advance, these organizations—agencies and branches of the U.S. Federal Government, for example—are increasingly stepping out in favor of secure cloud-based technology tools, like unified communications and collaboration (UC&C), to cost-effectively improve operational efficiency and productivity.
Back in the day, employees gathered around the corporate water cooler to chat about everything from brainstorming the next great product innovation or closing on loose ends from the last team meeting. Regardless of the topic of discussion, the water cooler was a place where people connected with one another. In this simple way, team-based productivity was organically amplified, synergizing workers and increasing productivity. Such gatherings of like-minded individuals were often the spark that ignited innovative business strategies.
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.
Manufacturing departments have a whole lot on their hands—literally. These groups of individuals work to convert a wide range of materials and components into finished goods that meet market expectations. While every facet of a company brings about invaluable traits and benefits, this production unit essentially represents the backbone of all business.
In part one of this series, we discussed the first huge challenge being faced by the modern manufacturing department—balancing a globally distributed workforce—and how unified communications (UC) can help meet those needs. Now, let’s take a look at two more top challenges for this workforce and how UC can help turn them around.
Challenge #2: Global Access to Collaboration Tools
Production, planning, sharing and brainstorming are all absolutely vital for the manufacturing department. From new product development to packaging decisions, the only way to get essential tasks done and keep operations flowing smoothly is to ensure seamless, global team collaboration. For example, delivering just two new products per year requires a rigorous level of decision making as well as frequent team interactions. When one is operating a globally distributed team, communication and collaboration can easily become difficult and hinder that team’s success.
The UC Solution: Presence and Video Conferencing
Presence and availability solutions such as chat and instant messaging (IM), e-mail, voicemail and Find Me/Follow Me (also known as geo-location mapping) play integral roles in unified communications. Many businesses—especially those managing geographically dispersed teams—rely on presence solutions for real-time communications wherever and whenever necessary. Co-workers will know when others are available to discuss important points and management will be able to accurately gauge the productivity levels of employees by seeing when they are and aren’t on hand.
This can be taken one step further with instant video conferencing, which enables staff to collaborate face-to-face for such things as impromptu presentations, quick product demos and more. Furthermore, advanced geolocation technology enables executives and team members to locate someone by showing their real-time location on a map.
Bottom line: unified communications is essential to rapid innovation process. It allows staff and management to share ideas and documents instantly, solicit feedback and make decisions in a timely, impacting manner.