Current Issues

Regular Industry Development Updates, Opinions and Talking Points relating to Manufacturing, the Supply Chain and Logistics.

How new approaches can bring ‘Smooth Talking’ to enterprise communications without breaking the budget

07-Dec-2017
How new approaches can bring ‘Smooth Talking’ to enterprise communications without breaking the budget
Enterprise communications are struggling to meet the needs of modern workplaces which are becoming more flexible, collaborative and mobile than ever before. When you then add more connected devices, the rise of bots, advanced analytics, focus on regulatory security and privacy concerns, you have a communications landscape that is rapidly growing in complexity. Moussa Zaghdoud, Senior Director and Head of Cloud Business Unit at ALE, looks at a new Enterprise Unified Communication and Collaboration (UC&C) Survey from Wainhouse Research to explore the trends and preferences in business communications and the technology that is available to enable organisations to deal with the growing complexity.

The transition to a new era of communication technology is not always plain sailing, and most organisations currently find themselves trapped somewhere between the legacy world of on-premises and some cloud-based services – siloed and not truly connected.

A rise in environmental complexity
New Wainhouse research shows the majority of businesses use multiple vendors for telephony -with some 75 percent using two or more vendors, and 21 percent with three or more. Alongside this, 33 percent have two or more Unified Communications (UC) vendors, with some using as many as five to deliver additional services. With so many moving parts it’s no wonder that it’s difficult to deliver a consistent and unified enterprise-wide communication experience to the end user.

With flexible working and teams operating remotely, a fixed point of collaboration isn’t enough to satisfy the communication needs of businesses. We need mobile enabled collaboration tools. So, the challenge today is to unify on-premises PBX telephony with the benefits of providing universally accessible Unified Communication and Collaboration (UC&C).

Enter hybrid solutions
The answer lies in hybrid communication solutions that have been developed to give IT departments the option to integrate cloud-based UC&C – offering key services such as presence, messaging, web conference, video, files and application sharing – with the existing PBX hardware. This allows businesses to protect and optimise previous investments. This also allows for a gradual approach to cloud adoption, so as business requirements shift, more services can be moved to the cloud.

The deskphone – it just won’t go away
This integration is important, because for the time-being, the deskphone is here to stay. According to the Wainhouse Research survey, it remains the most common communication device used today, with almost 85 percent using one for business communications. But – and it’s a big but – most users do not use just a single device. The research showed upwards of 70 percent of end users leverage a combination of a deskphone, PC and mobile device, and with new end user technologies such as VR, wearables and personal assistants coming to market, the number of us leveraging multiple devices is only likely to increase.

Managing a multi-device mash-up – it’s hybrid again
Business technology procurement needs to recognise this, but business operations tend to evolve gradually and don’t just jump from one technology to the next. A platform that provides equal support to “traditional” and next-generation communications is the ideal solution. If a business was to jump and solely use the latest technology, it risks alienating users and disrupting business in addition to losing value from its existing investments. Here again, it is hybrid cloud deployments which are removing these risks by augmenting the existing with the new. It also has the benefits of being easier to deploy, support and maintain – removing the burden of complex software or hardware management.

“Good enough” not good enough – vendors need to open up
End users no longer accept “good enough” quality from collaboration solutions. Wainhouse Research found quality to be the top end user requirement with 90 percent rating it as highly important. However, a true quality platform should also encompass the other four top requirements identified in the survey – workflow integration (70 percent), borderless communications (63 percent), mobility (54 percent) and global access (39 percent).

Open architecture platforms make it easier to integrate collaboration tools into business processes and systems. A connected communications platform can do this, bringing together HD voice, video and workflow integration delivered across devices via the cloud, allowing users to work together and collaborate seamlessly – regardless of location or device. To get the quality users want, unsupported tools are out, and enterprise-grade is in.

Businesses without borders - Bridging vs. Peer-to-Peer Calling
Teams in businesses aren’t just operating within the business borders. Not only are they often located across multiple countries, but can encompass internal employees, external team members, partners and contractors, or customers. The idea of the borderless enterprise is gaining momentum within the business world, but the tools and services need to be in place to support this. Location, device type or domain can’t get in the way.

Rethinking the PBX
The research found that on average, 40 percent of enterprise voice traffic ends up in a group conference call, and this percentage increases for larger organisations. Conferencing and group collaboration is becoming the de facto way work gets done for many, and this requires a rethink on how a business views its PBX.

Communications platforms that provide multiple functions such as voice, video and document sharing can become an extension of the PBX to support peer-to-peer and group collaboration. This then equally blends both individual and group collaboration features seamlessly, without the need to immediately replace existing hardware.

The Bell Curve reigns supreme - meeting user wants and needs
The majority of users aren’t early adopters of technology. When asked how far along the technology curve their personal communications environments are, 34 percent of participants replied early adopters, 44 percent middle of the curve, and 22 percent comfortably content to wait until they absolutely have to change it.

As organisations embrace new technologies and provide more connected workflows, they need to weigh up the advantages of new disruptive trends and technologies with the benefits of maintaining existing communications platforms. IT teams that engage their user community at every stage of the development lifecycle will find they reduce support costs and increase user adoption. Knowing end user preferences is key to delivering the right mix of services, and a platform that retains support for legacy users will ensure a smooth transition without leaving behind slow adopters.

The communication continuum
In today’s business world, nothing is static. A flexible communications platform that can extend its capabilities is essential to meet continually changing business requirements. A number of communication vendors provide open API access to communications features like voice, SMS and video, supporting the integration of collaboration tools for a growing mix of external team members, contractors, and partners. They provide a set of cloud-based services, implemented as an overlay solution with essential collaborative capabilities. These are simple for companies to deploy and users to adopt, regardless of their existing communications systems.

For enterprise communications to stay ahead, using disruptive technology without the business disruption will be key.

5 EIS rules you are probably not aware of
1 day ago
TMS: an enterprise priority
6 days ago
Labeling Solutions for Global Expansion
1 week ago
Prime Day will be a $1.6bn loss-leader creating millions more Prime members, says e-commerce expert
1 week ago
Say what? The new possibilities of voice and machine driven retail
1 week ago
‘Peak faith’ in the cloud only 12-18 months away with slump to follow, warns 6point6 Cloud Gateway
2 weeks ago
As you were for UK manufacturing sector, but new business growth at three month high
2 weeks ago
Back to IoT basics: Automating outcomes to improve customer experience
2 weeks ago
Investigation of the "Fast Fashion" impact
3 weeks ago
Redefining Rental for Materials Handling Equipment
3 weeks ago
With the Intelligent Enterprise, SAP Creates “A Completely Different Kind of Flexibility”
3 weeks ago
The supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link
4 weeks ago
How to Streamline Labeling in the Pharma Space
4 weeks ago
‘A revolution happened in the way we buy services last week – and no one has noticed!’
4 weeks ago
Hot Topics at GS1 Connect? Labeling, Blockchain and More
4 weeks ago
Retailers must Embrace Change
4 weeks ago
Labeling Solutions That Bridge Islands of Data
1 month ago
My Journey to the World’s Most Important Gathering of Supply Chain Leaders
1 month ago
Workforce of the Future
1 month ago
Securing your supply chain against political uncertainty
1 month ago
On-demand warehousing could help retailers score big this summer
1 month ago
Half of organisations set for major procurement and supply chain AI investment within two years
1 month ago
Brexit, the weather & online shopping: How Britain’s favourite conversations are shaping supply chains
1 month ago
The Road to Regulatory Compliance for Your Supply Chain Labeling
1 month ago
The War on Packaging
1 month ago
Five data dramas that keep your CIO awake at night
1 month ago
As sales fall new report finds many department stores’ websites suffer from clunky integration and poor delive
1 month ago
Got Your Surfboards Ready to Master the Wave of Digitalization?
1 month ago
TrustArc to Offer IAPP Privacy Core® GDPR Training to Address Compliance Requirements
1 month ago
The Market has never been Stronger for Horizontal and Vertical API Platforms
1 month ago
Selecting the best Transport Management System - One of the most important logistics decisions you’ll make
2 months ago
“Digital Transformation” and Supply Chain Planning
2 months ago
Coolest Advice for Making Blockbuster IoT Devices?
2 months ago
The Fall of ‘Made in China’
2 months ago
How can artificial intelligence help the food industry?
2 months ago
Streamlining Operations With Waveless Picking
2 months ago
Creating a common standard for the fashion supply chain…
2 months ago
5 Steps to Improve Your Business’s Supply Chain
2 months ago
Procurement is joining the dots with technology to achieve greater strategic benefits
2 months ago
Don’t get red-carded shipping World Cup items into Russia
2 months ago
Trash talk: how waste management could become an engine for business growth
2 months ago
Could consumers drive a business tech revolution?
2 months ago
Jungheinrich Opinion: The Connected Engineer
2 months ago
Debunking the myths of the Hybrid Cloud
2 months ago
How to Future-Proof a Retail Business
2 months ago
How Enterprise Label Solutions Streamline Supply Chain Management
3 months ago
Ignorance 4.0? UK manufacturing and engineering competitiveness at risk from lack of knowledge
3 months ago
Untangling S&OP and S&OE
3 months ago
The ghosts of retail past, present and future
3 months ago