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Comms & Collaboration 2022: 5 IT Trends to Watch

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A business person planning future
Image: Federico Caputo - Alamy Stock Photo
Few IT teams are starting 2022 from a blank slate. Many IT teams are continuing the work that they started in 2021 — and even before that in 2020 — of supporting enterprises with the communications and collaboration tools to address the needs of their organization. While the future of IT is anyone’s guess at this point, certain topics and trends have gained traction over the last couple of years, which provide us with some hints as to what we might expect from the year ahead and how they will ultimately impact IT operations.
 
Based on end-of-the-year content from No Jitter contributors, these trends include:
  1. Meeting equity will be key to hybrid work productivity: Thanks to remote work, many white-collar workers are now accustomed to the ins and outs of collaborating through video meetings. But what happens when more employees shift to a hybrid work model? In a recent article, Irwin Lazar, president and principal analyst at Metrigy, outlined two major challenges: ensuring remote employees can share ideas with those in a meeting room and allowing those in the meeting room to freely and easily participate in conversations happening among remote employees. In 2022, IT teams will need to take a proactive approach to address these challenges and explore how their meeting app and hardware vendors are addressing the issue.
  2. Video platforms will inform employee experience strategies: Not only will enterprises need to pay attention to meeting equity in a hybrid-work environment, but they will also need to ensure that employees' workplace well-being and wellness needs are being met. In her latest post over at No Jitter's sister website, WorkSpace Connect, Beth Schultz, VP of research & principal analyst at Metrigy, predicted that 2022 will be another banner year for employee experience, spurring market activity. In 2021, Microsoft revealed its employee experience platform, Microsoft Viva, while Cisco introduced Connections, which both provide various metrics on meetings. With this data, IT leaders can create a healthier employee culture and work with other workplace leaders to improve the employee experience, Schultz explained.
  3. Omnichannel customer engagement becomes even more important: Over the last two years, contact centers have focused more efforts and resources to meet customers where they are than ever before through a variety of digital-first and self-service tools. To deliver omnichannel engagement, enterprises will need to integrate data, applications, AI, and a unified platform, and they will need to align the customer journey with employee processes, according to Omdia analyst Mila D'Antonio in this article. Omdia found that 28% of enterprises surveyed have advanced their omnichannel efforts, up from 23% in 2020, D'Antonio explained.
  4. CCaaS becomes an AI hub for augmenting CX: At the beginning of the pandemic, many contact centers were able to shift to remote work with the help of contact-as-a-service (CCaaS) products. In the new year, those making purchase decisions will continue to see CCaaS for more than its work-from-home benefits and how it can improve the agent and customer experience with AI, contact center expert Sheila McGee-Smith shared in her end-of-the-year article. "As we enter 2022, the importance of the cloud shifts from being an enabler of remote work-friendly technologies to being an enabler of AI solutions," McGee-Smith said. Intention mining, which analyzes voice recordings and chats to determine customer intent, will be one such AI-based feature contact centers will increasingly leverage. While the cloud will increase AI adoption in the contact center, McGee-Smith also noted that on-prem contact centers can still leverage AI capabilities through deploying Twilio Flex or Amazon Connect elements.
  5. Enterprises that still have on-prem infrastructure will feel the pinch: Speaking of on-prem IT infrastructure, those enterprises that have yet made or planned their move to the cloud might feel the pressure to finally switch in the new year. Looking at the contact center, Deloitte found that of the 135 contact center organizations surveyed, 75% plan to invest in CCaaS in the next two years, as I shared in this article. As contact center consultant Nerys Corfield points out in the article, major contact center providers have shifted their research and development investments from on-prem to boost cloud-based offerings, which will tip the scale to the cloud despite the higher seat price.
Though the new year is still relatively fresh, many in enterprise IT have been grappling with these phenomena and others that were either introduced by or accelerated with the pandemic. For all the talk of a VR and metaverse future, many IT teams are still paying closer attention on the everyday tasks of ensuring employees have easy access to communications and collaboration tools and improving Wi-Fi connectivity inside the office and at home offices.
 
Which trends persist will ultimately have a ripple effect on users and how enterprises look at the future of communications and collaboration.
 
For more perspective on what might be in store for enterprise IT in 2022, check out these articles:

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