Traditionally, workplace communication involved long in-person meetings or conference calls that seemed to hinder productivity rather than boost it. Unified Communications (UC) solutions changed that by making it easier for employees to collaborate, helping transform the workplace.
However, solutions that focus on just one specific feature, such as instant messaging or file sharing, are no longer enough to support teams that have to work together effectively. In 2016, businesses will realize the need for a complete UC solution that includes calling, private and group chat, video conferencing, and more.
Because workplace technology continues to evolve, the UC space will start to see several trends leading businesses into the new year.
2016 will see a shift away from email as the primary means of communication between colleagues and team members. Although email will still be predominantly utilized for outgoing messages, internal communication thrives on the quick response that email simply can't accommodate in real-time, like a UC solution. In most workplaces today, you'll likely find some form of instant messaging platform.
By bringing team members together instantly, you can get everyone on the same page, reduce the need for time-consuming meetings or back-and-forth emailing, and, most importantly, enhance productivity, as detailed in this XO Communications report.
Get ready to see more businesses encouraging teamwork and collaboration in order to take advantage of the collective brain trust of their employees. Although some businesses are already taking a cross-team approach, there are still many that retain their traditional working structure where different teams work mostly amongst themselves.
One study suggests six competitive advantages produced by cross-functional teams: speed, complexity, customer focus, creativity, organizational learning, and a single point of contact for information and decisions about a project or customer. As work becomes more complicated, a much more collaborative approach is required for reaching that next level of success.
Most UC solutions today focus on a few different basic features that help employees communicate with one another and with external stakeholders. But in order to truly work together and be more productive, solutions need to go beyond simply enabling communication; they need to enable true collaboration.
Enterprises are actively on the lookout for a single platform that combines all of the collaboration features they need to increase productivity and work together efficiently. Features such as wikis, blogs, document collaboration, file sharing, instant messaging, video conversations, social UX, and others co-existing in one centralized platform makes it easy for employees to effectively collaborate. Having everything under one roof makes it so much easier to track down anything in your business.
A distributed workforce gives businesses an entirely different dimension, as technology enables us to work anywhere, any time, and on any device. Because of this shift in how we work, businesses will have to ensure they're providing their employees all the tools they need to stay connected no matter where they are.
In fact, the remote workforce has grown 103% since 2005 and 6.5 percent in 2014, according to Global Workplace Analytics data. Video conferencing will increasingly replace in-person meetings, and document collaboration will be key in enabling employees to work together remotely or on-the-go.
Once businesses realize the significance of these trends, they will be able to truly transform their traditional workstyle and environment, creating more effective communication and collaboration among their workforce.
To learn more about unified communications, come to Enterprise Connect 2016, taking place March 7 - 10 at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, Fla. Explore the full conference program here, and register now with code NJPOST to save $200 off the current conference price.