We’ve been using Unified Comms and Collaboration for nearly a decade now, but there’s still so much more of our journey ahead. The conversation is no longer limited to how we can use UC to transform our offices; there are wider implications for how we can harness the potential of sharing information and insight on a global basis to build more compelling products and services that are truly meaningful.
Whilst the convergence of IT and Telecoms continually enables new applications and services, we can start to imagine what this means in terms of the way we work and how we can harness the creative potential for ourselves as individuals, as well as at an organisational level. There is a possibility for vast change across a wide range of specialisations, in fact anywhere where the sharing of thoughts, ideas, philosophies, principles, inspirations and trends are important. We already talk about working via any device and any network – but have we considered working with any individual?
Today the general approach to Unified Comms and Collaboration is from an intra-company viewpoint. Given UC’s ability to connect and integrate critical resources and bring vitally needed energy within an organisation, it’s easy to understand why this is the case. Nonetheless, as our technology capabilities continue to improve in leaps and bounds, the possibilities of UC are expanding. I think this will develop to support a richer and more informed product and services creation environment, providing compelling and unique experiences for consumers, employees and organisations alike.
I think the logical progression of UC will follow three steps:
- Step One: Inter-company – As our working relationships with suppliers and partners move away from a limited, hierarchical interaction into a more dynamic exchange of skills and services, unified comms and collaboration will need to deliver inter-company collaboration within industries and sectors.
- Step Two: Intra-country – With accelerating levels of market competition, connecting to other UK organisations with shared aspirations in similar industries could be a key differentiator in our increasingly complex economy.
- Step Three: Globally – As Globalisation moves beyond concept into an accepted reality, connecting globally with like-minded individuals across industry will become the norm. Different borders and time-zones will become less of a consideration as social media connections blur the lines between personal and business, giving us access to an even wider network of contacts to draw from.
At Kcom we've been having a larger conversation about the Future of Work, and our recent webinar addressed some of the emerging UC trends within the workplace. As we embrace an ever-expanding range of technology tools, the traditional structures of a 9-5 workday, or a team relying on a single physical office to work together become less and less relevant. If you combine this freedom to work the way we want to with the dynamic economic climate in which organisations find themselves operating, some interesting opportunities will open up.
As UC allows wider connections to form between companies and industries, building a portfolio career becomes an exciting possibility. Rather than relying on a traditional vertical career path, we might find ourselves working in a horizontal specialisation, for example a Product Marketing Manager might choose to work between the Retail, Leisure, and Food and Drink industries – a prospect which could be as rewarding as it is challenging. Those that combine a wide range of ideas and inspirations with a global network of contacts will be sought after by organisations seeking an innovative advantage through global appeal with an individual twist.
The human angle is crucial here – ultimately technology alone cannot create an organisational revolution. If we apply this concept to our approach to work, expanding our network of contacts, knowledge of competitors and sources of industry knowledge, then the exposure this gives us in terms of insight and inspiration on a global basis is phenomenal. The ability to develop such an expansive portfolio of expertise is surely the Holy Grail for forward-thinking organisations.
This is not about advertising. Beware the inevitable backlash against the relentless product push across social media. As promotions and bots threaten the original goals of major social media sites, we can already see a shift of users escaping to more exclusive social networks, where serial Likers or Lurkers are refreshingly absent. The challenge will be in connecting, understanding, developing and sharing meaningful ideas. With a global community online, we now have the perfect opportunity to be inspired by diverse cultures and societies, while always ensuring we maintain the human element.
We have already come so far on our Unified Communications journey, but it’s this next stage, where we will start to work with anyone, at any time, that is truly exciting.
If you’d like to know more about how your organisation fits into the future of UC, you can get in touch here.