The workplace is being redefined dramatically. According to IDC:
85% of millennials prefer flexible work, a generation that will account for
50% of the workforce by 2020
Employees now spend 80% of their time collaborating, each using an average of 4 connected devices to complete tasks
In other words, employees are increasingly demanding the ability to work any place, anytime. In return for the improved work/life balance this provides them, they’re delivering more productivity, increasing their engagement and effectiveness.
Traditional tools like email, desk phones and formalized face-to-face meetings are simply no longer enough. Employees need purpose-designed tools that enable true anytime, anywhere collaboration.
And that’s not all. With employees connecting from anywhere, the need for enhanced security protocols to protect networks, data and reputation are paramount.
Like digital transformation itself, collaboration is an ongoing evolution of traditional work practices with many exciting developments anticipated in 2019 and beyond.
“Cloud first” continues to change collaboration spaces
In a recent study conducted by IDC in partnership with TELUS, almost three-quarters of Canadian businesses were shown to be actively considering, in the process of adopting or have already adopted unified collaboration tools, many of them cloud-based. This demonstrates that collaboration is no longer a differentiator among businesses. If you don’t offer it, you can expect growing employee disengagement and loss of productivity.
With its unique Work Styles program, TELUS has demonstrated the power of digital transformation. Allowing employees to choose how they want to work, and empowering them with innovative collaboration tools, employee engagement increased by 34 points and saved millions of dollars in real estate costs.
The key is to look for cloud-based tools that allow anyone to work on a project at any time and contribute on any device. You can also expect more collaboration tools to integrate video capabilities, allowing people to meet face-to-face and share screens and resources, all with minimal set-up and little to no additional cost for bandwidth.
From AI to BI
Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana have become everyday tools, using conversational AI to significantly impact consumers’ lives. Now, conversational AI is bringing a human touch to business intelligence (BI) too.
Chatbots on websites can do what sales assistants in stores have been doing for years, using predefined scripts to help shoppers find what they’re looking for. Intelligent assistants are also relieving the burden on call centre staff. Customers can buy flowers over the phone without talking to a human. Airline passengers can check in for their flights, receive their boarding passes and more, all aided by AI.
As this trend continues, big data will increasingly be integrated with AI, giving these tools even more power to provide customer and employee assistance and support.
A new place for social media in the workplace
Like so many other consumer tools, social media is making its way into business.
Facebook’s Workplace brings the familiar Facebook interface to internal company communications. Nestle has already deployed it to replace a previous business-only communications platform, with successes that include “25 times higher engagement per post and increased rates of mobile adoption”.
The prediction is more companies will adopt Workplace, as well as other social media tools, making it easier for them and their employees to communicate in familiar ways.
The growing influence of the Internet of Things
Digital transformation isn’t just about people. IoT solutions allow you to track your remote workers and other assets, ensuring safety and security for all. You can also monitor equipment and machinery automatically, freeing your employees to concentrate on other critical tasks, all while lowering costs, enabling predictive maintenance and improving efficiencies.
TELUS is now deploying a new Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) specifically designed for IoT. With its low power requirements, the TELUS LTE-M network will extend the battery life of connected devices, enabling a wide range of new IoT solutions and applications.
Security will continue to be a major challenge
With all these new developments in collaboration, your network endpoints can be anywhere an employee happens to be, including unsecured locations like coffee shops, airports, hotels, fitness clubs and more.
The proliferation of devices connected to the corporate network will also continue to present a challenge. For example, hackers have recently discovered that unsecured VoIP phone systems can provide a back door into an organization’s infrastructure. As VoIP becomes the new standard, you must ensure the security of the desktop phones, computer softphones and mobile applications that connect to your data networks.
These trends mean that it’s now vital to take a holistic approach to security. Google is going even further, embracing a “zero trust” model that assumes no network and no user can be inherently trusted. Every attempt to access the organization’s network must be verified, every time. More organizations are expected to follow.
Put your people first and take advantage of the future, now
When it comes to collaboration, the bottom line is employee and customer satisfaction. By giving your team the tools they need and want, you can boost engagement, encourage productivity and protect and enhance your competitiveness.
At TELUS, we work to help our customers redefine their workplaces. Together, we reorient people, infrastructure and tools to focus on the right capabilities and help make the right technology choices, enabling fast, agile teams that can engage, respond and move at the speed of customer demand.
Learn more about collaboration tools and solutions from TELUS and how to redefine your workplace.
Watch the latest collaboration webinar on-demand.
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