For many of us, the nature of work is changing. In our busy technology-powered lives, we need the right tools to engage and collaborate with colleagues, partners, customers and other key people.
We need to be able to reach people wherever they may be. A conversation can be started on one channel or platform, and then be continued on another channel or platform if so required. We need access to the right information on a variety of devices to assist with decision making on the fly and to make progress with our daily tasks.
To serve these demands, Cloud-based unified communication and collaboration tools have emerged and matured in recent years, thereby slashing the costs of connecting staff, bolstering levels of productivity, and opening the doors to entirely new ways of working.
Broad feature set
Fully-fledged, Cloud-based collaboration tools encompass a broad suite of features, including:
- High definition audio and video calling where colleagues have video interaction that reveals all-important non-verbal communication signals.
- Desktop Share that allows staff to share rich multimedia content displayed on their desktop with other selected users.
- Instant Messaging are quick-fire interactions where colleagues can reach each other with instant messaging tools that are available on any compatible device.
- Rich presence capabilities is a handy feature notifying other users of your presence status – for instance, whether you are online, offline, in a meeting, or on leave.
- Group-based communications where conversations that occur between two people can be easily ported into group chats, thereby giving newly added participants a thread of the conversation history so that they are immediately aligned with the ongoing interaction.
- Tight integration with Microsoft Outlook and Exchange. Almost all mid-sized and large enterprises rely heavily on Microsoft’s enterprise services. It is important for collaboration tools to integrate into other environments – such as Outlook, SharePoint, Skype, and Office.
In the past, these kinds of rich services meant lengthy, complicated and costly installations. With cloud-based services, all this complexity is abstracted away where businesses can simply subscribe to a suite of instant services.
Cloud-based tools enable fast-growing companies to bring new branches on-stream in a matter of hours where all these benefits can be realized without compromising on security.
The biggest factor that is driving the adoption of Cloud-based tools is the compelling price advantages. On average, clients reduce their running costs of communication and collaboration platforms by about 33% through the adoption of operational costing models.
These cost-savings are achieved in a number of ways. Traditional ISDN trunking required dedicated circuits, each with their own monthly rental costs. Cloud-based services allow voice and data to traverse over the same connection leading to cheaper call costs as more traffic is migrated to the IP platform; while the need for expensive PBX line cards also falls away.
Organisations also see cost efficiencies as any spare capacity can be used for other services like internet access and WAN connectivity (as opposed to ISDN trunking, where any spare capacity would simply be wasted).
By consolidating all traffic over one network, businesses not only experience dramatic cost savings but also reduce the headaches of managing complex infrastructure. Technical teams can be re-deployed and elevated to focus on new areas of technology-enabled growth, while the cost-savings can be poured into revenue-generating areas of the business.
By shifting to a monthly subscription model, businesses no longer have to agonise over when to upgrade their communication infrastructure and for how long assets need to be sweated. With Cloud architectures, updates and new features are automatically added to the suite of services on an ongoing basis.
In this way, firms get the very latest technologies, empowering their workforce with everything they need to do their best work.
It’s time to critically analyse whether your business’ aging infrastructure is holding you back.
In today’s digital ecosystems, teams need to quickly connect, share and discover information. With Cloud-based tools, everyone gets an ‘at a glance’ view of their colleagues’ presence and availability, quickly spinning up of video chats, working together on documents, and collaborating fluidly throughout the workday.
By Corrie Lynch, T-Systems’ DSM Expert: Connectivity Services