For all the hype surrounding new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain, only a handful of businesses have been able to leverage these solutions effectively. In fact, many see these emerging technologies more as buzzwords and marketing jargon than tangible solutions.
While the benefits these new technologies provide are undeniable, the reality is that the majority of companies simply lack the resources needed to reap the rewards. This is for all manner of reasons, whether they be financial, infrastructural or operational. However, many businesses are turning to alternative solutions to boost productivity and engagement, at a fraction of the cost.
There are an estimated 4 million people working remotely in the UK. It therefore comes as no surprise that companies looking to modernise their employee engagement have turned to unified communications and collaboration technologies (UCC). Today, leading UCC vendors are providing organisations with effective and economical collaboration capabilities, in the same way that Dropbox transformed the online storage space and Google changed email.
Video conferencing is now the norm
Virtual meeting rooms provide the necessary capabilities to connect a disparate workforce, providing features such as chat and resource sharing, all in one platform. Given the need for real-time, face-to-face communications, video conferencing technologies serve as the backbone of these platforms. Here, many providers offer a range of high-quality cameras and tools to maintain effective and engaging communication between team members, as well as with outside customers and partners. What’s more, these tools provide employees with a means of compatible communication across any device, as well as the option to link existing video-conferencing systems. Ultimately, this means anyone and everyone can join the conversation at any time.
In any face-to-face interaction, visual cues play an integral role in helping people better understand one another and convey complex messages, whether it be facial expressions, hand gestures or body language. While it is true that many organisations have already adopted some form of video communications within their business, Aragon Research predicts the trend will only continue. For example, more businesses than ever before are turning to UCC technologies, with 65 per cent of conference rooms expected to be video-enabled by 2020.
Relationship building across the globe
The concept of working remotely in the UK is clearly here to stay, with figures predicted to continue growing to half the UK workforce by 2020. In the context of today’s disparate workforce, it follows that establishing strong relationships can be an arduous task. To make matters more complicated, in the era of global business, we are seeing the need for companies to communicate with organisations all around the world. This means establishing strong relationships is now more important than ever before.
The lack of physical proximity to colleagues and customers alike can often lead to disengagement and disinterest, making meetings less productive, slowing work and potentially risking customer relationships. Businesses of all sizes are now better able to resolve this problem by emphasising the use of UCC technologies like video conferencing and real-time file sharing to help create the look and feel of an in-person meeting. Not only does this encourage better engagement, but it also creates a sense of connection between meeting participants. By allowing collaborators to see and hear each other while working together on projects, companies can foster the strong relationships required to maintain high productivity, retain employees and grow customer business.
Providing holistic collaboration
A large number of organisations are also looking to UCC technologies for their ability to make communications more digestible. In the digital world, there is no shortage of solutions, and the proliferation of technologies is making workers less productive for having to switch between different applications.
However, UCC technologies streamline engagement and consolidate collaboration in one place. By providing chat, video, file and screensharing functionality under one platform, employees can use their time more effectively instead of switching between siloed applications, while ensuring nothing is ever lost as a result of incompatible systems. Additionally, the large majority of UCC platforms can integrate with an organisation’s existing infrastructure as well as third-party applications. This means businesses aren’t required to invest in any new technologies or update existing programmes.
No matter the size of the organisation, UCC technologies provide businesses with simplified communications. This enables organisations to make their workforce more productive and engaged, removing the need for expensive technology investments. What’s more, a more connected workforce means employees are able to derive more value from collaborative tasks like brainstorming, ideating, planning and presenting.
While a small minority of companies benefit from emerging technologies to accelerate outcomes, businesses of all sizes are instead looking to more accessible platforms to keep up with market leaders. In this sense, unified communication and collaboration solutions will continue providing businesses with the means to increase productivity and serve as a key pillar of success.
Sion Lewis, VP of EMEA, LogMeIn