Organisations are embracing video to help them communicate more effectively with their workers.
According to new independent research commissioned by BT and Cisco these developments, coupled with the proliferation of cloud computing and mobile, are helping to prevent “digital dislocation” between organisations and their employees.
The study, which included respondents from South Africa, found that technologies such as video, cloud and mobile are becoming critical platforms for communication across large businesses – from executives through to employees. Eight-five percent (85%) of local respondents thought desktop video would really add value and be useful, while 81% of local IT decision makers said they wanted video on their work-smartphone or tablet.
The findings suggest that more work is needed to reduce “digital dislocation”, whereby employees feel disconnected due to lack of face-to-face interactions with colleagues. Seventy-six percent (76%) of local IT decision makers complain about time wasted trying to contact colleagues, and three quarters want simpler ways to share information.
These struggles reflect changes in the modern workplace in recent years, with initiatives such as bring your own device (BYOD) and flexible working driving the need for more innovative communication and collaboration technology.
The research reveals that over half (67%) of employees now work “flexibly”, either on the go, at client sites or from home, while 87% want more simple ways to share information with colleagues and collaborate more easily when on the move for work. Similarly, the research finds that in South Africa, 57% of workers want to use their own devices at work (over 47% globally).
Better collaboration tools are increasingly being seen as the solution, with 80% of employees wanting to use collaborative tools more often.
To address this demand, BT and Cisco are announcing an upgrade to the BT One Cloud video technology platform.
Oliver Fortuin, MD of BT in Sub Saharan Africa, says: “As the mobile workforce continues to grow locally, it is easy for employees to get trapped inside specialist departments and divisions or drop off the map while working out of the office. But staying connected has never been so important and is vital to an organisation’s success. Using effective collaboration tools, employees can share information and make faster, better decisions.”
Scot Gardner, vice-president: global service provider Europe, Middle East and Africa and Russia (EMEAR) at Cisco, says: “Businesses are under extreme pressure to prevent against ‘digital dislocation’, streamline processes and improve productivity in a variety of locations across countries and even continents. By adopting cloud, mobile and video technology, like the BT One Cloud video technology platform, companies can ensure that they have simple and seamless communication throughout their organisation, avoiding siloed departments and ultimately, creating an inclusive and connected culture, regardless of geography.”
To facilitate these new technologies, many IT managers are looking at cloud services to help stretch their budgets and replace outdated legacy systems.
Globally, the research reveals that those organisations that have rolled out a cloud technology beyond trial have benefitted, with average total operating costs falling by 25%. At the same time, they have seen a 30% increase in employee satisfaction directly following implementation of cloud based collaboration technology.
Crucially, far fewer IT decision makers view security as a barrier to using cloud based collaboration, down to 52% globally from 68% three years ago.
“As organisations become more familiar with cloud services, there is increasing trust and confidence in their security,” says Fortuin. “At BT we’ve noticed that organisations leading the trend by using cloud collaboration tools are already experiencing great results – saving money and delivering better customer experience.”