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Employers: prepare to compete for ‘hyperconnected’ talent

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Nortel tasked IDC to conduct a global study of almost 2 400 working adults in 17 countries. The study focused on quantifying the state of today’s connectivity, tracking its acceptance and use across devices and applications as well as determining the pace of its growth and impact on the enterprise, writes Nortel country manager Magda Engelbrecht.

It was found that enterprises around the world are facing an exploding “culture of connectivity”.  Not only are 16% of the global information workforce already “Hyperconnected”, but more significantly, another 36% will be joining them soon.
The Internet, broadband access, camera phones, voice-over-IP, instant messaging, social networking, video uploading – all make obvious the increasing importance of communications and connectivity in our daily lives.
But what does all of this connectivity, sharing of information every moment of every day, mean for businesses?  What decisions will companies have to make to ensure this becomes a competitive advantage? Where are the opportunities and challenges? What are the implications for employees, management and CIOs?
This evolution towards increasing levels of connectivity will have a profound impact on enterprises, creating challenges in managing these new tools of connectivity while providing information securely and reliably, and ensuring that this connectivity is productive.
Those hyperconnected depend heavily on the devices and applica­tions that make them hyperconnected.  47% said a network outage at work would have an extreme impact on them. Technology supporting the hyperconnected has become mission-critical.
The boundary between work and personal connectivity for the “hyperconnected” is almost nonexistent. Two-thirds use text or instant messaging for both work and personal use. More than a third use social networking for both. The freedom to conduct work during personal time will force changes to personal use policies, business practices, training curricula, and IT support policies.
The migration to hyperconnectivity will create a profu­sion of devices, applications, and new business processes. Already, the average hyperconnected individual uses at least seven devices to access the network and nine connectivity applications. This profusion will create the need for a strategy and architecture for unified communications across the enterprise if an orderly migration is to occur.
As baby boomers retire, businesses will find themselves competing within today’s hyperconnected base of talent. Most companies are not ready to compete in the emerging war for talent.  Tomorrow’s workforce will increasingly expect to work in a hyperconnected communications environment and many will consider this a condition of employment.
Connectivity tools in the hands of employees may increase productivity, but they also increase the risk of the release of sensitive information to the outside world.
Already a quarter of hyperconnected respondent companies use blogs and wikis to communicate with customers and other outsiders. Obtaining the benefits and avoiding the risks of Hyperconnectivity will require unprecedented cooperation between CIOs and their business counterparts.
It will not be possible to ignore this new level of connectivity. Businesses can either embrace it and manage it carefully or, stand-by as it enters their enterprise, in a confusion of discon­nected deployments that squander the productivity and com­petitive advantage Hyperconnectivity could otherwise bring.