GUIDE

Workplace of the Future

The Impact of Emerging Technologies and Unified Communications

Download PDF version

about-icon

Introduction

With the rapid advancement of AI, IoT, and cloud-based technologies, organisations face increasingly more pressure to invest in the solutions needed to survive. Competition is fierce, and business leaders are realising the importance of combining technology with talent, in order to drive digital transformation and a culture capable of adapting quickly to change.

Adopting the right business processes as well as IT solutions enables organisations to attract and retain potential workers. The challenge is on for business leaders to therefore promote modern, digital workplace practices that empower employees and enhance workforce capabilities with the skills and tools necessary to boost productivity. Let’s take a look at the biggest trends affecting the future of the workplace, shaping employee culture and customer demand.

The future of work is about forging a new relationship between technology and talent that transforms existing ways of working and doing business

Gartner

workplace-of-the-future

 

Flexible Working Demands

Flexible Working Demands

In recent years, more and more businesses have embraced digital transformation largely in response to employee, customer, and market demands. Where Business and IT goals intertwine, there is an ongoing focus on new technologies that enable more productive working lives and spaces. The term modern workplace is frequently applied to businesses that introduce new products or software. However, the transformation into a modern workplace requires much more than new IT. Businesses must evolve into a flexible environment that enables continued and unified communication and collaboration (UCC).

Just as digital transformation is more about people than technology, work is today considered more of an activity than a location. The rise of the smartphone along with other handheld devices is a key facilitator in this shift in attitude. The result; more people wanting more freedom with work hours and location. Flexible working is no longer seen as a perk, but a key consideration for prospective talent deciphering their next role, and an essential driver behind employee motivation, productivity, and retention rates. And it’s not just millennials changing work attitudes. Employees of all generations are becoming more aware of health and wellbeing, prioritising this over all else and thus increasing demands for remote and flexible working. By meeting the needs of your teams, you end up with a happier, more productive workforce; ultimately leading to business growth and increased revenue.

Flexible working has never been so important in 2020, otherwise know as 'the year the world worked from home.' Even as businesses begin transitioning some employees back to the workplace in line with government guidelines, it's clear that remote working will remain a popular, effective, and even cost-saving dynamic in the workplace of the future.

70%

contact-centre-icon

Laithwaite's Achieves Customer Service Excellence Through Cloud-Based UCC

As a family owned wine specialist with over 50 years of experience, Laithwaite’s Wine combines tailored service with quality wines from 25 countries.

Similar to many UK customer service organisations, Laithwaite’s has seen a change in the way their customers want to engage; moving from what was traditionally phone based interactions to multi-channel including email and web communication. To ensure they continued delivering consistently high levels of customer satisfaction across all channels, Olive designed and delivered a new Cloud Omni Channel Contact Centre solution to underpin their digital customer experience strategy.

The Contact Centre and Unified Communication solution incorporates workforce management, voice recording, quality monitoring, screen recording and a sophisticated IVR platform. Located over dual data centres, the system is delivered via a private cloud, making it highly resilient, secure and scalable.

Laithwaite’s can now access customer interaction tools on a per-user profile basis, removing duplication, complexity and cost; whilst ensuring they can scale and flex in line with peak periods.

Application leaders must develop a UCC strategy in cooperation with representatives from lines of business, digital workplace transformation leaders, and end-user computing and communications specialists. Such cooperation enables consideration of a wide range of needs and assets, with a view to encouraging the use of new and emerging technologies.

Gartner

Shadow IT

When a business begins to lose productivity, or causes end user confusion due to a lack of a unified solution, individuals begin to use their own devices. Enter the issue of shadow IT.

From employees to customers, all end users have the same expectations; to use technology in work as they do in their personal lives. This self-selection of technology applies right across the board, from hardware to software, net-works to data.

Faced with an organisation of shadow IT users, it becomes difficult to remain within bandwidth requirements, and gain visibility over devices and data in order to comply with security regulations. One way to avoid shadow IT is to take a broader view of your digital workplace. Ensure you have an agile UCC strategy in place, one that considers and consists of your workforce communication requirements; both traditional and evolving. 

cloud

Cloud Based UCC

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, it was reported that more than 50% of workers would work outside their main office, at least 2.5 days a week1. To accommodate today’s workplace culture change, businesses are looking to empower their teams with the tools and communication channels needed to achieve maximum productivity; for IT leaders, this is their most important job. Above all else employees need to collaborate easily and effectively to get work done. Especially in today’s digital world and in some cases, the global nature of business, face-to-face collaboration isn’t always possible.

Cloud-based solutions are being adopted to increase productivity and enable secure collaboration from anywhere, at any time, and on any device. According to Gartner, “By 2020, a Corporate “No-Cloud” Policy Will Be as Rare as a “No-Internet” Policy Is Today2. Growing in popularity, such tools are allowing IT leaders to manage operations efficiently, with the ability to integrate seamlessly with other systems and processes.

From video conferencing to voice calling, document-sharing to social engagement, tools for collaborative working can transform businesses into a modern workplace for the digital world, introducing benefits such as:

  • Low maintenance and equipment cost
  • Move from CAPEX to OPEX / subscription-based pricing model
  • Regularly updated software for better performance and enhanced security
  • Opportunity for ongoing innovation / open API’s
  • Easy of mobility
  • User consistency
  • Improve scalability
  • Increase IT speed and agility
  • Allow for disaster recovery and business continuity
  • Simplify management and cost-tracking

Over the past few years, we’ve seen an incredible pace of innovation when it comes to UCC technologies. IT leaders are now able to deliver simple, consistently high-quality communication experiences from any mobile, smartphone, laptop or conference room facility.

Users can work securely and seamlessly from their preferred device, collaborating and sharing content—all within the context of the meeting or discussion.

Sources:
1 - Regus
2 - Gartner

 

Over 50% of workers now work outside of their main office at least 2.5 days a week.

Regus

AI-communications-icon

AI Across Communications

Having many interfaces and communication channels, not to mention a wealth of available but disparate information can make it difficult to deliver with a simple, unified experience. As businesses strive to differentiate themselves through their customer service, we are seeing a rise in the use of AI to assist with this goal.

Chatbots and virtual assistants are already making communication quicker and easier. With an  increasing use of mobile devices for communication, AI can facilitate a faster exchange of information. Along with the potential to analyse data, recognise, and learn from previously undiscovered interrelation, it can generate solutions such as efficient expert search and simplified scheduling to better serve the workplace.

With the hype surrounding AI comes as many questions, mostly associated with its potential. Finding skilled workers in an environment short on AI specialists is one such concern; training and educating the workplace is another, along with how many news jobs will be generated – or cut.

To mitigate this, businesses are being encouraged to look inward. Should an organisations digital transformation goal include AI as a business accelerator, it needs to be an amplifier of its people and work hard to give all employees access to the skills and knowledge needed to utilise such advanced technology. This may involve shifting roles, allocating budget, and manually auditing which processes they want to streamline.

connect-icon

Embedded APIs

More and more businesses are integrating communication APIs for a cost effective, easier, and faster alternative to full internal development which can take several months. As we see more organisations look to streamline workflows, embedding their own APIs into existing communication applications is becoming part of that process to support with business goals. It also removes the resource-intensive task of deploying software that requires businesses to manage and maintain their own infrastructure.

With this in mind, new features are being developed to provide users with more context around information for workflows. For example, communication APIs can be embedded within real-time communications capabilities enabling videoconferencing, click-to-call, or data share from within various business applications.

consult-nav-icon

Everything As A Service

Today’s business marketplace is driven by employees and customers who want everything on-demand. This is resulting in another major workplace shift and the growing need for solutions that are flexible and non-committal in nature, in
the wake of a new tech landscape driven by consumers and employees wanting it easily accessible and at their fingertips.

With this new demand comes a device procurement market on
the verge of transformational change. UCC solution providers are now offering subscription-based licensing which is being embraced by businesses faced with an uncertain economic future. From a technology perspective, cloud, automation,
and data are threatening to dismantle many legacy operating models; resulting in a highly competitive as a service landscape.

What this means for the future workplace is that businesses can lease the latest equipment. This flexibility allows them to choose what technology they use, meeting the exact needs of their users and customers. Not only does this improve customer experience, it removes on-going and unpredictable running expenses and enables businesses to shift from CAPEX to OPEX spending. By keeping pace with innovative technology, businesses get to meet modern workforce expectations and equip teams with the tools they need to be productive – as well as attracting and retain skilled workers.

challenge-icon

Modern Workplace Challenges

Of course with the rise in cloud-based services and solutions comes increased risk. Employees who choose a cloud service may ignore its security limitations, in many cases resulting in the unauthorised access and sharing of corporate data.

In fact, of the 46% of UK businesses reporting a cyberattack in 2016, 41% suffered data loss or network access breach as a result. Despite this, only one in ten have a cyber security incident plan in place.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Although some businesses look to gain visibility into the cloud services used by employees through existing proxies and firewalls, such measures usually miss many services proving inadequate to make any actionable decisions. The same goes for businesses with remote workers – particularly those lacking any kind of mobile device management solution. Gaining oversight into what devices are being used, how information is being shared, and whether corporate data is safe is a huge challenge in light of cloud and shadow IT.

Governance and Security

The growth of cloud adoption in parallel to modern work-place culture demands indicates that the cloud market
is still in early stages. Given its forecasted trajectory, the opportunity for digital transformation is huge - with the smarter organisations already getting a head start. By building out governance policies and streamlining cloud usage now, they’ll stay ahead of the pack and get maxi-mum ROI from tech investment, while future-proofing the business with better security.

The power and breadth of the aforementioned innovations and trends are important factors in enabling workplace transformation. Organisations are becoming more able to deliver the tools, technologies and cultural workplace needed to support an increasingly mobile and tech-savvy workforce. A workforce that is also team-oriented and time sensitive, and in some cases geographically diverse. By leveraging cloud-based UCC with a sharp focus on strategy, IT can drive and realise vast gains in productivity and agility, along with teamwork, customer satisfaction and overall profitability.

about-icon

Conclusion

The growth of cloud adoption in parallel to modern workplace culture demands indicates that the cloud market is still in early stages. Given its forecasted trajectory, the opportunity for digital transformation is huge - with the smarter organisations already getting a head start. By building out governance policies and streamlining cloud usage now, they’ll stay ahead of the pack and get maximum ROI from tech investment, while future-proofing the business with better security.

The power and breadth of the aforementioned innovations and trends are important factors in enabling workplace transformation. Organisations are becoming more able to deliver the tools, technologies and cultural workplace needed to support an increasingly mobile and tech-savvy workforce. A workforce that is also team-oriented and time sensitive, and in some cases geographically diverse. By leveraging cloud-based UCC with a sharp focus on strategy, IT can drive and realise vast gains in productivity and agility, along with teamwork, customer satisfaction and overall profitability.

Discover How Olive Can Help You

In a time of widespread digital innovation, we understand businesses like yours are under increasing pressure to improve the way your business operates, optimise costs, and deliver a simply brilliant customer experience.

In our art of the possible sessions, we'll aim to get an understanding of how your business currently operates, what your objectives are, and where technology can make measurable differences.

Book your virtual art of the possible session

Book a session