The ways in which people communicate are fundamentally changing. As new productivity tools continue to appear in the workplace, they will need to be embraced by management. According to Forbes contributor Glenn Llopis, it will take an understanding – and embrace – of current trends for companies to succeed in modern times.
"The 21st century leader must have the ability to make the most out of every situation," he wrote. "They are courageous and not afraid to challenge the status quo and push the boundaries to make things better. Because of these qualities and many others, the best leaders know how to get the most out of people; they enable the full potential in others."
One way in which to accomplish this is to examine how social media can be effectively used within the office. Not only are sites like Facebook and Twitter valuable for things like marketing and customer service, but they also have much to teach the enterprise about employee interaction and collaboration. By pairing social media in a variety of ways with cloud unified communications, companies are setting themselves up for a successful future.
Cloud UC Initiatives Must Consider Social Networks
A vast percentage of the world's population is connected over the Internet in some way. More often than not, this means having accounts with several social media services. Because so many people are simultaneously logged into these sites, they have started to evolve into communications channels that are being held in the same regard as voice and texting.
As such, organizations of all kinds should consider how they can integrate these social media platforms into company practices. Customer relationship management tools like Salesforce, for example, can help to aggregate data generated by customers into discernable statistics. Is a brand's name part of a negative hashtag or the subject of an embarrassing help desk anecdote? It is possible not only to obtain any information that will discern things of this nature, but also directly reach out to affected customers in an attempt to rectify the situation.
This is one of the reasons why it will be important to consider social media as a communications channel when investing in cloud-based unified communications solutions. But even more crucial than that, these services can teach businesses about how UC is approached. Understanding what has made Facebook so popular, for example, could help to better inform the decisions that need to be made regarding the network interface.
Viable Use Of Social Media Doesn't Stop With Customers
Chances are, a good deal of employees at any given organization have a few personal accounts on these kinds of sites. They are drawn to them because of the interactions they can facilitate. Things can be shared, email-style messages can be written and IMs can be launched effortlessly. Facebook is even making strides to include voice as one of its in-app channels.
Facebook is a good example of how to succeed in unified communications. Within one program, users are able to perform a number of different tasks and connect with others in a variety of ways. Additionally, Facebook exists in the cloud, meaning that all someone needs to access the network is a device that has the corresponding app installed. These are all aspects of an effective UC strategy – one that should be studied and learned from. The Facebook model is continuing to influence telecom initiatives, and is becoming an expectation among the modern mobile workforce.
"As the level of acceptance of social technologies has increased over the past few years, the way we think about social business has undergone rapid change," said IDC research manager Vanessa Thompson. "This change also comes with the confluence of a number of intersecting market trends – cloud, mobile, and Big Data. This exacerbates the ways we can use these new communication and collaboration channels to connect with employees, customers, partners, and suppliers in order to meet future needs."
Cloud Communications Help Fuel Business Innovation
Now that so many people are accustomed to using smartphones and tablets to increase convenience in their personal lives, they are anticipating support from their employers. Mobility is a major defining aspect of present-day success, and enabling staff members with the autonomy to work remotely is becoming more common by the day. It is because of this that unified communications has to overcome the barriers of the physical workplace and siloed endpoints and instead be considered as a cloud-based application.
This will come in a variety of ways, from on-site deployments to hosting services. The right solution for one organization will not always be the best for another. What is certain, however, is that the cloud needs to be a part of unified communications initiatives. As telecom becomes further absorbed into the world of IT, it will be important to treat the two as a single subject and examine how advancements for one can benefit the other.