For the time being, you can still envision a thriving enterprise without a scalable communications platform. However, the sun is setting on that vision. Soon, it’ll be exponentially more difficult for an enterprise to operate without unified communications as a service (UCaaS). Here are the signs we see pointing to this:
The Decline of the Landline
The future is in the cloud. You can tell by how quickly cloud-based VoIP technology started to wreak havoc on the sprawling empire that was legacy telecom. After all, AT&T itself has pledged to move to the public cloud within four years. When AT&T is forced to change, you know it’s not a fad.
It’s not just that consumers and businesses started to cut their landlines in favor of cell phones. The mass abandonment of the landline came hand in hand with a rise in cloud-delivered communications, including Skype, FaceTime, and IP texting. For many people, video and chat are just as relevant as voice-only communications. In fact, most people—including enterprise employees—take these tools for granted.
For enterprises, this means that employees will increasingly demand cloud-delivered capabilities (video conferencing, text-based chat, instant file sharing, etc.) at work. If they can’t get these capabilities from an employer-sanctioned provider, they’ll use their personal resources instead. If enterprises want staff to communicate via enterprise-owned channels, they’ll need to provide access to those now-commonplace capabilities. UCaaS is the solution to that.
The Need for Control and Accessibility of Internal Assets
Today, knowledge work entails a substantial amount of digital collaboration. This includes the co-production of internal documents as well as digital conversations outside of email, such as chat and video.
The optimal tool for this collaboration needs to meet two conditions, at a minimum:
- It needs to be seamlessly accessible for all involved
- It needs to be secure enough for confidential information
The need for an enterprise communications tool to meet these two conditions eliminates anything that’s managed locally (e.g., Word documents with tracked changes). It also eliminates free cloud-based tools that can’t be monitored and controlled, including Google Docs, which has seen some high-profile security problems.
Enterprises (and some smaller businesses, like law firms) have internal assets that need to be secured. At the same time, employees in different locations need to collaborate on those assets and access them centrally.
UCaaS addresses these needs, offering both reliability and security by creating redundancies that protect data and help prevent downtime.
The Surge in Remote Work
The upward trend in remote work across many professions is another driver that will push enterprises to adopt UCaaS.
In an office, employees can connect and collaborate instantly by tapping each other on the shoulder. For remote teams, the closest substitute is a robust communications platform that makes text chat, video, and document sharing equally fast and simple. To prevent productivity loss as a result of remote work, enterprises will need to adopt seamless, simple, location-independent communications.
By the way, that surge in remote work even includes office-based employees.
“Today’s workforce expects to be able to work from any location at any time,” says Sukamal Banerjee, corporate vice-president and head of IoT WoRKS at HCL Technologies. “[This] sets a high bar for enterprise IT teams to deliver against. We expect to see more suppliers that can deliver a location and device-agnostic, integrated suite of video, chat, and voice products that empower the workforce of tomorrow.”
A single unified, scalable communications platform is the best way for enterprises to make remote work possible without compromising visibility, security, or productivity.
The Rise of Automation
Last but not least, enterprises have a better understanding of the monetary value of automation. As McKinsey found, automation in HR, finance, and IT divisions could help companies achieve 10% cost savings within 18-24 months, and 30% over the longer term. Soon, companies that are avoiding automation will no longer be able to afford to do so.
The rising need for automation extends to the communication-based tasks that knowledge workers perform every day. From streamlined calendar management to automated note-taking, transcription, and file management, UCaaS comes with built-in automation tools. Especially for non-technical people and departments, it’s one of the most natural ways to adopt automation to work smarter.
The Times Have Changed
When people heard Bob Dylan’s song “The Times, They Are a-Changin’” on the radio, they could never have imagined listening to it on a cloud-based service like Spotify. Video conferencing was possible only on Star Trek. But now, it’s hard to imagine life without these communications tools. UCaaS is how enterprises can—and must—keep up with the times.