2016 Business Communications: Changing the Way We Work

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Evolving Work Styles

Historically, work has been a place and employees most often relocated to be near that place.  Social trends, lower unemployment rates, and communications technologies together are enabling employees to live where they want, and work from there. In 2015, 37 percent of employees said they had worked remotely at one point in their careers, compared to 30 percent in 2006 and just 9 percent in 1995. With the available collaboration tools, many of which are cloud-based, along with the advancements in mobility, projects and tasks can be completed from virtually anywhere.

The ability for employees to work remotely and use their personal mobile devices of choice (part of the well-established BYOD trend) makes it easier for companies to recruit top talent, despite location. Also, companies are starting to incorporate flexible work options into their benefits packages, and as a result are attracting more millennials. Empowering the end user with the proper tools to work efficiently despite barriers and traditional work styles is the ultimate goal of businesses moving forward.

Something worth noting is how this will impact business IT departments. Managing and securing a business' IT infrastructure in an environment where remote employees download tools and apps (whether authorized or not), along with understanding that many of those apps do in fact increase worker productivity, will be a balancing act for IT. Also, managing remote workers isn't just an IT issue - the proper policies (e.g., BYOD, telecommuting and social media policies) should be in place, and business managers must be knowledgeable about the tools and practices necessary to successfully communicate with and manage these remote employees. All of this reflects the new reality that having an untethered workforce actually enhances revenue opportunities while improving employee morale.

For 2015, Danny Windham, CEO at Digium, predicted that it would be the year of mobility, integration of communications and user experience. In reviewing last year's predictions, versus what actually happened, some were dead on while others were slower to develop. Many of the same trends of 2015 are shaping up to be continued influencers on business communications and work styles in 2016, while additional trends emerge.

Mobility certainly took a giant leap forward over the past year – and shows no signs of slowing down. The prediction of the ”integration of communications into every aspect of how we run our businesses,” while still one of his core predictions, will be a multi-year evolution. It only began to develop some momentum during the past year, but the desire for integration of communications into and across core business functions continues to drive conversations within organizations of all sizes. Businesses are adopting cloud solutions at a rapid pace, as anticipated, and the use of SIP trunks is still growing. In fact, a recent Infonetics survey found that over three-fourths of North American businesses plan to use SIP trunking by 2016. These previously predicted trends are still big players in the business communications world, but for the purpose of this slideshow, Windham would like to focus on some concepts that are gaining real momentum.

The responsibilities of IT are shifting, workforces are distributing, and exciting things are on the way in the area of communications, enabling business processes through the use of innovations such as Application Program Interface (APIs) and Web Real Time Communications (WebRTC). The way we work is changing and the way we interact with our customers is changing, as 2016 is set to bring another wave of innovation.


Related Topics : Vulnerabilities and Patches, Resellers, Broadcom, Broadband Services, Supercomputing

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