By Daniel Yin | Head of Product Management | RingCentral
New technology is constantly emerging in the unified communications and collaboration space, transforming the way we work on a daily basis. Disruptive concepts like the cloud, artificial intelligence, and even mobility mean that the office we used to know is quickly becoming extinct, replaced by a more flexible and dynamic environment - ideal for on-the-go productivity.
As we head further into 2019, now is the perfect time to start thinking about the impact that rising cloud communications and technology trends will have on the modern workforce. Here's what we expect to see in the digital workplace this year.
1. Focus on Engaged Employees
The modern employee currently uses more apps and programmes than ever before to connect with colleagues and delight customers. Unfortunately, simply pouring extra technology onto your team members might not be the way to empower them this year. RingCentral studies show that up to 2 thirds of workers waste up to an hour a day navigating between apps.
The digital workforce of 2019 will need to focus on engaging their employees, by giving them the convenient and combined solutions they need. This means asking the question: "What is unified communications, and what does it mean to my business?" The companies that can provide transformational communication experiences for their employees will be the ones more able to retain high-quality workers.
We began to see the rise of unified communication and collaboration tools in 2018, as companies looked for new ways to keep globally distributed staff members connected. In a world where your employees won't always be located in the same physical office, it's important to make sure that they can collaborate just as effectively.
Studies suggest that up to 66% of employees feel that the connections they build with team members help to keep them productive. Going forward, you'll need to consider how tools like RingCentral Glip and Office can help your staff stay connected regardless of geographical boundaries or chosen devices.
2. Team Collaboration Goes Mainstream
Thanks to evolving cloud communications solutions, the digital workplace is consistently growing bigger, including contractors, freelancers, and partners from around the world. The rising "digitalisation" of businesses is allowing companies to seek out the specific skills and expertise they need around the world.
UCaaS solutions can help this expanding digital workforce to access the communication systems they need to contend with trends like globalisation and remote working. As the boundaries between countries continue to blur, it will be crucial for organisations to invest in a more flexible comms strategy.
4. The Cloud and the Mobile Workforce
Speaking of the rise of mobility in the workplace, modern businesses in 2019 will be forced to look beyond the standard phone systems that tether employees to their desks. Increasingly, staff members are beginning to explore the possibilities of things like BYOD and cloud communications.
According to Gartner research, around 90% of IT leaders say that they won't be putting any additional investment into on-premise UC infrastructure because the demand for cloud flexibility is simply too great. To remain competitive and support your mobile team in 2019, you'll need to convert to a truly digital workplace.
5. Digital Colleagues Emerge
Finally, while artificial intelligence has been around for a while now, the adoption of digital assistances, voice-based AI and other intelligent services is likely to grow significantly in 2019. The one-dimensional chatbots that we used to know will be replaced by technology that can understand human language, listen for context and even provide sentiment analysis on-the-go.
Artificial intelligence will supplement the unified communication experience so that human workers can spend more time completing the creative challenges that they're best at.
About the Author:
Daniel Yin heads up Product Management for RingCentral in EMEA. He has spent his career at RingCentral driving the expansion of cloud Business Communication solutions in the UK and EMEA via the adoption of exciting, innovative features and services as well as their integration into customers’ workflows.
He has spent the last 8 years in the cloud software and communication industries and his background is in software development and telecoms infrastructure. Check his recent blog post: Understanding Conversational AI.