The always-on communications dilemma
The world of work is being reshaped by a groundswell of tech-savvy, mobile-first talent, looking to work flexibly, remotely and collaboratively. Consumer technology innovation has facilitated this, empowering workforces to communicate and collaborate from any location, at any time and using any device.
Business decision-makers have sought to enable these shifts in working patterns rather than restrict them. However, the challenge facing both businesses and employees is avoiding the risk of information overload created by the plethora of apps, messaging and e-mails.
PRODUCTIVITY AT RISK
People need tools to help manage the “always-on” mentality and continuous stream of information they are faced with. Existing communication tools are often limited in scope, context and mobility, which can lead to ineffective collaboration. As a result, business processes and workflow often become fragmented, causing productivity to fall as users are constantly interrupted by notifications, and switch among multiple applications and tasks. Next-generation unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) technology should be delivering simplicity and intuitive, app-like experiences across multiple devices.
Michael Tessler, president, co-founder and chief executive of BroadSoft, expands on this issue: “When you consider that, according to a study from Common Sense, 72 per cent of teens and 48 per cent of adults feel the need to respond to messages, posts and notifications immediately, then you can see why business decision-makers are struggling to manage the non-stop flow of information, communications and notifications that employees receive, scattered across a variety of locations, devices and applications.”
Only game-changing, mobile-first cloud communications can enable new ways of working, and help to manage information overload, inefficiencies and lower productivity
According to Taher Behbehani, chief digital and marketing officer of BroadSoft: “Office workers are already checking their e-mail inbox 30 times an hour, yet businesses are trying to improve productivity by feeding an attention-challenged workforce new standalone, siloed enterprise messaging apps, video and web-conferencing and other collaboration tools.”
Only game-changing, mobile-first cloud communications can enable these new ways of working, and help to manage information overload, inefficiencies and lower productivity.
Scott Hoffpauir, chief technology officer and co-founder of BroadSoft, adds: “End-users want to cut through the noise and have everything they need in one place. For example, if an employee initiates a call to a co-worker, BroadSoft UC-One Hub’s contextual pane will immediately show the caller all recent files, e-mail, social media engagements, tasks, IM [instant message] sessions and other data between the two colleagues, without opening or searching through additional applications.”
MOBILE CLOUD SOLUTION
For business cloud UC&C, BroadSoft has become a recognised leader by service providers and industry experts alike, identified by analyst firm Frost & Sullivan as the market share leader for unified communications as a service (UCaaS) with 41 per cent of the market. It also boasts 25 of the top 30 global service providers by revenue as customers.
Brent Kelly, principal UC&C analyst for KelCor, says: “As communications and collaboration migrates to the cloud, market forces and momentum favour three providers as the ultimate big winners: BroadSoft, Microsoft and Cisco. While Microsoft and Cisco seem obvious, given their size, BroadSoft is also a significant player because of its huge communications service provider partner network.”
BroadSoft’s managing director, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Craig Decker says: “Our strategy has always been to focus on what really matters; the real end-user customers and the international communication service provider community. In the era of cloud transformation, service providers are in a unique position to ensure the network quality and security that businesses need to transition to cloud UC&C with confidence.”
Flexibility has been a catalyst for increasing workplace fragmentation, with people working at different times and in different locations, on multiple devices, each with its own identity, using multiple tools including new apps such as WhatsApp, Redbooth, Concur and Salesforce.com. Effective communication, on-site, off-site and while mobile, remains essential for a successful workplace. Only a cloud-based infrastructure is capable of integrating all that, and this is driving phenomenal market growth as more and more companies move from PBX (private branch exchange) systems to the cloud.
CLOUD COMMUNICATIONS SHIFT
The latest figures from Cavell Group, a leading research and consulting firm in the telecom, cloud and managed services sectors, show the UK market is growing at 31.8 per cent a year in business of all sizes.
As Cavell Group’s research associate Dominic Black points out, cost factors only add to the business case for cloud adoption. He says: “Companies used to invest in their own PBX equipment, generally requiring a significant amount of up-front capital expenditure. With cloud, they pay for services as they consume them and can scale their requirements up or down in line with changing business needs, shifting costs to operational expenditure. The market has been maturing over the last ten years and, according to our research, over two million business users in the UK have already taken advantage of cloud communications solutions.”
The advantages of using BroadSoft technology are being seen first-hand by leading telecom service providers such as Gamma, which works with a growing number of small and medium-sized enterprises, many of them looking to replace their on-premises PBX, as well as larger companies with multiple sites.
Gamma’s products director Alan Mackie says: “One company we have worked with is Thrifty Car Hire, which operates across multiple sites and also needs to be able to open up new sites very quickly. Cloud enables them to do that. It solves a problem and relieves a painpoint that premises-based PBX can’t.”
Cloud has had a profound impact on the workforce. With BroadSoft UC&C solutions, employees can log in from anywhere on any digital device and the system will immediately recognise them, their teams and all their contacts. Users can locate colleagues quickly and immediately begin messaging to share real-time information. If closer collaboration is required, they simply hit the audio or video button to begin a call, conference or screen-sharing session. The ability to pull a call from one appliance to another, for example, between a desk phone and mobile device is another benefit of native mobile integration.
“The feedback we get from the end-users of the cloud-based system, the employees, is extremely positive,” says Mr Mackie. “They can work from home, use their laptop to make calls, share information with colleagues during a call and work remotely, yet collaboratively. The business benefits from lower costs, more flexibility and higher reliability than they were getting with PBX, and because employees have access to the technology that enables them to work in the way which suits them best, productivity also goes up.”
SERVICE PROVIDER ADVANTAGE
However, BroadSoft insists it is its focus on market needs, rather than technology, which has kept it ahead of the curve and leading the market.
Mr Decker concludes: “Our product has to be rock solid as our service provider customers are the most technically savvy in the world with high expectations regarding quality and security, and businesses must have confidence in their cloud UC&C vendor. As the global transition to cloud continues, BroadSoft’s competitive advantage comes from being a vendor that is deeply integrated into mobile networks and has a complete stack of solutions incorporating PBX, unified communications, team collaboration and contact centre.
“Our service provider relationships are the icing on the cake because they provide rock-solid network, quality and security with one bill, and one support organisation. When combined with the future of work vision, you can see why BroadSoft is well positioned to allow teams and individuals to reach new levels of productivity and mobility.”
For more information please visit www.broadsoft.com