Businesses Must Utilize the 4 Major Trends in Enterprise Communication
There was a time when the coolest kid on the block was the one with a Blackberry from work inside the new business communication system.
Smartphones and tablets have become the norm for all but a handful of consumers, and this is shaping how business is done. Instead of relying on company technology, workers now are waiting on company technology to catch up with the power and flexibility of the devices they already have in their pockets with the new business model.
This shift is changing business fundamentally, and leading to what many have called the consumerization of enterprise IT and online business solutions.
This consumerization has led to four major trends in enterprise communication: mobility, business social networking, cloud computing, and bring-your-own-device (BYOD).
First, the ubiquity of employee smartphones has changed how work is done. It no longer is about one phone line, one cubicle; the average employee now expects to work outside of the office, even if it is not an official part of his or her job description.
“The traditional desk based, single phone, single PC screen enterprise user is gone,” noted a recent white paper on enterprise megatrends by Tadiran Telecom. “The new enterprise user is a multidevice mobile user, centrally hosted with streamlined information access and rationalized applications, with all his/her communications devices working seamlessly together.”
Second, social networking has become embedded in the culture of workers to such a degree that they now expect it in the workplace, too. This is giving rise to a push toward more presence among employees, and more expectation of collaboration and quick sharing of information.
A third change in business is the rise of cloud computing. While this isn’t actually initiated by employees, the increasingly move toward web services for e-mail and things like file storage has paved the way for expectations among employees that the enterprise will embrace the cloud, too. If employers don’t deliver cloud services to help employees get work done, increasingly employees will reach out and use consumer cloud services on their own to get the work done.
This leads to the fourth major trend in enterprise communication: BYOD.
Many employees are finding it hard to stomach enterprise-issued IT when it is inferior to what they already have in their pocket. Whereas once the temptation was to use company resources for personal matters, the opposite now is in effect: When company hardware won’t do the job well enough, employees are reaching for their personal devices to stay productive.
While this is helping employees stay productive, and cutting down on the need to issue company-sponsored smartphones, it also has unleashed a terror on IT departments that now must assist employees with a range of devices. Worse, it is creating a leaky enterprise where corporate data is finding its way onto unsecure devices.
Businesses have rushed to embrace mobile device management to help protect corporate data on BYOD devices, but the security threat is still a big one.
Overall, businesses must address these trends or fall behind.
“The independent evolution of these powerful mega trends has converged into seamless consumerization coupled with immediate access to applications and information, with the ubiquity of connected smart devices,” surmised the Tadiran ( ) white paper. “People expect this same creative interactivity and rich information access in their workplace.”
If these expectations are not met, employees will move elsewhere. Worse, businesses will lose competitiveness over the competition that has adapted with the times. Enterprises can ill-afford to ignore the changing communications landscape.