From good to great collaboration in 2017
In my frequent interactions with customers and partners around the region, I have identified five themes on collaboration that will be important to organisations:
1. User experience
As more people in the organisation get access to collaborative technologies, they expect it to be as easy as the personal applications and devices they use with friends and family. It should just work in the same way across any device, in different rooms, as they move from desk to a meeting room - seamless, effortless. It should be designed for the way we work. Let's take the example of a manufacturing facility: when people on the production floor wish to meet with remote experts to troubleshoot issues instantly, they want visual technology solutions that would enable them to zoom in on a piece of equipment, block out extraneous noise of machines and generators, and record best practices in real-time. That's the difference between point solutions and fully integrated, unified collaborative environments.
2. Customer experience
Organisations realise that to create loyal customers, their experience is everything. According to research firm Gartner, by 2018 the world's largest companies are expected to exploit intelligent apps and utilise big data and analytics to improve customer experience. In an age where information is available instantly, customers are more empowered and seeking instant gratification when it comes to their needs; listening through several menu options to speak to someone, and filling in forms to seek assistance is no more endured. Employing collaborative technologies for more regular and engaging human contact allows the customer to be more closely connected, develop rapport and have open dialogue, which can lead to even greater innovation as well as loyalty.
3. Digital transformation
Digital transformation has been ongoing for a number of years now and according to research firm, IDC, worldwide spending on technologies will grow to more than US $2.1 trillion in 2019. There is also increased focus on digital transformation beyond the enterprise level. In fact, digitising economies and public services is high on the agenda for many governments in Southeast Asia through highly ambitious national initiatives - Digital Malaysia, Smart Nation in Singapore and Digital Thailand are some examples. With a rising workforce that has grown up as digital natives, harnessing the right technology to be better connected to societies will be crucial in successful implementation of government initiatives.
4. Workspaces and workstyles
The mix of cloud, mobile, and desktop collaboration apps are characteristic of the modern workplace - but what becomes fundamental is the proper integration of a user's chosen method of communication. From what I've seen, customers aren't too bothered about having the latest product, they just want employees to be able to work seamlessly and naturally and the technology has to match that expectation. With a growing emphasis on hot-desking and Activity Based Working, the approach to designing a workspace will also refer heavily on new workstyles - such as individuals who prefer to bring their own devices, sit with colleagues in an open collaboration space, or work remotely.
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