10 Trends in Enterprise Communications & IT [Part Two]

nec-enterpirse-trends-uc-mobility-cloud-virtualizationIn part one of this series, we dug into top trends to help your business increase efficiency and reduce costs. As we dive into the rest of the list, we’ll show you how mobile apps, storage management, social media and other evolving trends can give you a competitive edge.

VI. Mobile Applications

When mobile apps first made their appearance, the offerings consisted of strictly general productivity needs and information retrieval; email, calendar, contacts and weather information for example. Fast forward a few years and driven by increased public demand developers have created advanced mobile apps with capabilities such as GPS and location-based services, banking, order tracking, and ticket purchases. Not only has this increased functionality created a rise in the popularity of mobile applications, but it has generated a shift in the desire for mobility from strictly personal to business and corporate use. According to an Appcelerator survey, 55 percent of companies ranked mobility at the top or near the top of their priorities list, and 66 percent plan employee-facing mobile applications.


VII. Contextual Data, Analytics and Interaction

Contextual data spans the last mile of personal and business productivity: ‘Meta-information’ accompanies voice, video, chat and text communications to provide more comprehensive context for our interactions. Analytics is increasingly delivered to users at the point of action and in context. With the improvement of performance and reduction in cost to develop and implement, IT leaders can afford to perform analytics and simulation on nearly every action taken in the business. This change will lead to greater flexibility and agility within the workplace. For example, mobile workers are most efficient when they have immediate visibility of team member status so they can reach others in a timely manner when they need to do so. Contextually aware presence gives these employees the ability to receive information on content, tools, and services based on contextual information, such as the geographical location, personal preferences, and current activities of group members. To take it a step further integrating mobile devices with Unified Communications (UC) software allows end users to use mobile devices for collaborations and to locate other end users, whether they are on-site or off. This can be essential in healthcare where patients may require immediate assistance from medical staff or colleagues.


VIII. Big Data and Storage Management

As businesses of all sizes begin taking advantage of the capabilities of big data and analytics, they are also encountering the inevitable downside; complications when trying to store, protect, and manage the growing pool of data and related resources. Current methods require them to constantly configure, provision and upgrade their servers and storage devices, all the while technology enhancements put on the pressure to undergo migrations. So how can this be addressed? First, analyze the value of the data you have. Enterprises are deploying Big Data projects to leverage their current data and drive better business intelligence, product development and customer service. The surge in data will drive storage solutions to become fore flexible and scalable without the need for users to have a refined skillset in order to manage.

IX. Smart Energy

Information and Communications Technology will play an increasingly vital role in an energy efficient society, particularly given how essential it is to automatically balance energy supply and demand. Smart Buildings will achieve enhanced environmental and economic performance by producing, storing, efficiently managing and optimally controlling energy. Building energy management systems will play an increasingly vital role in these Smart Buildings. Energy waste is in turn minimized by obtaining location information for individuals to enable automatically controlling air conditioning and lighting. This is of particular interest to enterprises and data centers that will place an increasing focus on energy-saving technologies such as virtualization.

X. Social Media and Interaction

Although seen typically as a customer-facing technology only, many businesses have begun utilizing social media as an integrated element in their business process to facilitate improvement in all areas. From product testing and validation, exerting market influence, prospecting and lead generation to customer care and retention, the value of social media activities is continually increasing and expanding. The value of this activity is being quantified and routinely measured as part of the regular business process.
Companies are also reinventing their customer engagement models to more quickly and effectively respond to customer care issues via social media. Promotions are the top drivers of consumer engagement through social media, so businesses need to build new linkages between marketing and sales. Furthermore, customer support services increasingly use social media sites to share information with customers and provide more interactive support for them.

Hopefully these 10 tips have given you an idea on how you can empower your workforce without having to sacrifice additional cost or efficiency. Don’t forget to start at post 1 for the first set of tips, or to see the complete list, download the eBook.