How Big Data, Mobility Up Ante for Collaboration

With integration into every facet of society, mobility has changed the way the world works and how businesses operate. Consider these statistics from Pew Research Center: 95% of Americans own a cellphone of some kind, and 77% own a smartphone. It's official -- there are more mobile-literate Americans than not.

Combine this fact with a layer of big data, and the ways in which businesses can intelligently interact with customers and partners essentially becomes limitless. Businesses can analyze data on a monthly, weekly, daily, or even hourly basis to get real-time insights into how customers and partners are using a device or system, suggesting ways to get even more out of their products, and identifying and fixing issues before they happen.

These two technology megatrends are intersecting to boost the adoption of communication tools -- for video conferencing, voice calling, and chat, for example -- across industries and businesses of all types. As a result, it's no surprise that along with the growth in mobility and big data market researchers project that the enterprise collaboration market will reach nearly $50 billion by 2021. Let's take a look at how this growth is being spurred.

Greater Efficiency and Productivity for All

To meet customer expectations, many businesses have adopted a 24x7x365 mentality. Providing anytime access to technologies that make employees more efficient and productive is the only way forward -- as validated in findings from a survey we ran with Spiceworks in which nearly seven out of 10 IT professionals cited collaboration as a high priority or even essential to current organizational strategy. Additionally, 75% of respondents to a customer survey we ran said they feel more productive in video meetings. This means that as a business community we already recognize the importance of connecting with our colleagues by any means possible.

One of the intentional side effects of relying on collaboration technology is deeper integration with remote workers and those who use their cellphone as their primary form of communication. According to Statistica, the average American spends about two hours and 37 minutes per day on a mobile device. By design, mobile technology is meant to bridge communication gaps and connect individuals who can't meet face to face. By more deeply integrating collaboration technology, your business will immediately experience increased operational efficiency and productivity.

Big Data Enhances Experiences

Knowing how, where, and why your employees are working matters more than you can ever imagine. And, knowing how, where, and why your customers use your product matters just as much. This insight can be the difference between success and failure. Data gives you access to these answers and the ability to take action in response to them.

IDC forecasts that by the year 2025 we will have generated 163 zettabytes of data globally. If your company is utilizing this data to make business decisions, it's easy to assume why. Companies are collecting data for almost every department and business unit -- from marketing to human resources.

In the same vein, when you're evaluating collaboration solutions for your business, you should look for those designed for and backed by data, with today's modern worker in mind. For example, with big-data analysis you should be able to get insight into where people work, what features and functionalities they're using, whether they're using the technology properly, and more.

Reflections on Today's Modern Worker

Despite some companies reversing flexible working policies, remote work is still -- and will always be -- a part of the modern workforce. According to a recent Upwork report, nearly two-thirds of companies have remote workers, and their needs completely differ from in-office counterparts. In order to keep these employees connected and engaged with their teams, they must have access to collaboration technology usable across all devices.

Propelled forward by mobility and big data, collaboration technology is here to stay as an essential tool for businesses of all sizes. Through the intersection of these technologies, companies can increase productivity and, ultimately, boost the experience of their customers and partners. As the modern worker continues to use technology outside the office, we will only continue to experience an increase in mobility and big data. Buckle up, it's bound to be a fast-paced ride.