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Hybrid teams (operating both remotely and on-site) and agile business processes are shaping the future of work. While the recent pandemic gave rise to an unprecedented increase in remote working, Frost & Sullivan’s research shows that most organizations will continue to allow or mandate working from home well into 2022.

But when the lockdowns came last year, most businesses were not prepared to keep their employees connected and productive—and many are still not where they need to be to ensure business continuity regardless of the reason (viruses are certainly one, but weather and man-made disruptions are far more common and increasingly likely).

Staggered work days and schedules with fewer people on-site are here to stay. Cross-functional teamwork across office, frontline and customer-support staff is now the best way to deliver an excellent customer experience. Office spaces designed for collaboration among both in-person and remote attendees are the hot trend in commercial design. Organizations are both highly distributed and increasingly “flat,” relying on dynamic, self-organized teams and agile processes to maintain cohesion. And many unique vertical-industry use cases, such as telehealth and distance learning, have shifted from novelty to mainstream.

But the work won’t end just because normal processes have changed—and employees must be able to immediately jump from one modality to another, without a loss of productivity or any disruption in the customer experience.

Now, businesses must adjust their technology investments to ensure that the benefits of virtual collaboration are realized well into the future. And that means they must expand and streamline the cloud-based meeting, calling and collaboration services they’ve already deployed on an ad-hoc basis, to ensure they offer the full range of capabilities needed for the long run.

The cloud can get you there—fast

Frost & Sullivan predicts that as businesses re-assess their information and communications technology investment strategies, they will adopt more flexible consumption models to ensure greater agility and responsiveness to the evolving needs of the organization—and its employees. In the process, many are moving mission-critical voice, messaging and meeting applications to the cloud as part of their digital transformation projects. Those who fail to do so risk being left behind.

That’s because cloud services enable faster, less-disruptive technology implementation, as well as the ongoing operational efficiencies and dexterity businesses need to quickly capture emerging opportunities and stay ahead of the competition.

But simply shifting communications and collaboration workloads to the cloud is not the whole story. Businesses that invest in modern and comprehensive collaboration-centric UCaaS solutions will reap much greater benefits, including:

  • Enhanced user productivity based on a unified user interface for desktops, browsers and mobile devices to access voice, video and data-based communications and collaboration.
  • Improved team efficiency through instant messaging and presence, persistent team and one-to-one chat, multimedia meetings, content sharing and file/document collaboration.
  • Greater trust, morale and social bonds among dispersed teams thanks to highly-engaging video conferencing, team spaces and other advanced collaboration tools.
  • More agile business processes enabled by user presence and availability status, and a choice of communication modalities to address user preferences and tasks at hand.
  • A better customer journey enabled by tighter collaboration across multiple internal stakeholders and effective external communications with customers, suppliers and partners.

In the past year, point solutions deployed in an ad-hoc fashion to some users or workgroups have provided a much-needed stop-gap in a time of crisis. But going forward, businesses must rationalize their communications strategies and employ a holistic approach to their IT and communications transformation.

Frost & Sullivan recommends…

A highly collaborative work environment will deliver a strategic foundation and a competitive advantage. Plan to expand, upgrade and consolidate all your communications and collaboration investments.

You can create customer and business value by leveraging comprehensive cloud-services suites to more holistically address your organizations’ technology requirements and more effectively align stakeholders across your organization. Consolidating enterprise voice services, public switched telephone network (PSTN) access, meeting, and messaging on one platform can help achieve key objectives, including lower costs, efficiencies in app usage, simplified management and contextual interactions.

Microsoft Teams offers calling capabilities to enable employee productivity, rapid and effective decision making and team bonding across different job functions. Consider integrated services suites such as Microsoft 365 to realize considerable cost savings and operational efficiencies while future-proofing your communications, collaboration and productivity investments.

Learn more: http://aka.ms/callingmadesimple

About Melanie Turek

Melanie TurekMelanie Turek is Vice President, Research at Frost & Sullivan. She is a renowned expert in unified communications, collaboration, social networking, and content-management technologies in the enterprise. For 15 years, Ms. Turek has worked closely with hundreds of vendors and senior IT executives across a range of industries to track and capture the changes and growth in the fast-moving unified communications market. She also has in-depth experience with business-process engineering, project management, compliance, and productivity & performance enhancement, as well as a wide range of software technologies including messaging, ERP, CRM, and contact center applications. Ms. Turek writes often on the business value and cultural challenges surrounding real-time communications, collaboration, and Voice over IP, and she speaks frequently at leading customer and industry events. Prior to working at Frost & Sullivan, Ms. Turek was a Senior Vice-President and Partner at Nemertes Research. She also spent 10 years in various senior editorial roles at Information Week magazine. Ms. Turek graduated cum laude with BA in Anthropology from Harvard College. She currently works from her home office in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Melanie TurekMelanie Turek

Melanie Turek is Vice President, Research at Frost & Sullivan. She is a renowned expert in unified communications, collaboration, social networking, and content-management technologies in the enterprise. For 15 years, Ms. Turek has worked closely with hundreds of vendors and senior IT executives across a range of industries to track and capture the changes and growth in the fast-moving unified communications market. She also has in-depth experience with business-process engineering, project management, compliance, and productivity & performance enhancement, as well as a wide range of software technologies including messaging, ERP, CRM, and contact center applications. Ms. Turek writes often on the business value and cultural challenges surrounding real-time communications, collaboration, and Voice over IP, and she speaks frequently at leading customer and industry events. Prior to working at Frost & Sullivan, Ms. Turek was a Senior Vice-President and Partner at Nemertes Research. She also spent 10 years in various senior editorial roles at Information Week magazine. Ms. Turek graduated cum laude with BA in Anthropology from Harvard College. She currently works from her home office in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

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