Workplace 2.0: Where Will the Telecom Industry Take Us Next?
What is a workplace? Though typically considered as a location, increasing numbers of businesses are beginning to deconstruct the concept, breaking it down in to its essential components and quickly concluding that locality has very little to do with it. The best “workplaces”, many believe, may be nothing more than a central point from which employees can communicate and collaborate with colleagues.
Even without the growing demand from the workforce for flexible working technologies, it is a matter of straight forward economics: remote workers are far more cost-effective. Not only do remote workers typically work longer hours, organisations are able to save money on office space – something of a premium in most cities across the world. The now globalised markets have changed the way we work and having a culturally diverse workforce is vital; after all, how can you hope to sell into all geographies if you lack expertise in the cultural nuances unique to each region?
The telecom industry sits at the heart of this changing landscape, playing a critical role in connecting employees and is currently in the process of evolving to better serve the needs of today’s globalised businesses.
Single View, Multiple Strategies
Critically, we can expect to see a convergence in the different functions of the workplace, aiming to create an optimal working environment. This means an emphasis on collaboration rather than on stand-alone voice or messaging channels. We will see integration of the traditional means of communication into a single digital solution. Importantly, these functions need to be seamlessly embedded in to business processes. Rather than offered as a ‘nice-to-have’ or simply promoted as ‘tech’ innovation – they must be made integral to the working culture.
As you might expect, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach and each instance of workplace collaboration will look different according to the various demands of the industry, aims of the business, and technology appetites of employees. However, at its fundamental level, a virtualized workplace will enable a mobile-first approach – allowing employees to work across laptop, tablet, or smartphone without any break in the experience. The strategy should be tailored to the individual worker, following their preferences and allowing them to use whatever device they want, from whichever location they find themselves in.
Getting the Foundations Right
In tandem, the latest technologies will be essential in building a thoroughly modern workplace. The Software-as-a-Service trend, and cloud deployment options will have a significant role, and necessitate a change of tack for telecom organizations. Moving from a network centric approach, we will see a transition towards full end-to-end service delivery: with telecoms involved in all levels of the process.
Still a rare sight, we have yet to see many telecom companies offering open, or software-based environments that can provide the building blocks of these new workspaces.
Going forward, it will be important for developers to from start from an end-user perspective. As we mentioned above, these processes must be built into the fabric of an organization, woven through the core of its business model. Without a strong adoption rate, this won’t happen. A strong emphasis on ‘end customer experience’ and ‘quality of service’ will be a deciding factor.
With Mobile World Congress taking place now, check out this week my colleague Paul Davey’s post on how the telecom industry is bringing unified comms to the consumer…