The relentless development and implementation of new technologies means that the face of business communication is constantly changing and evolving. Many of these new technologies will impact not only the tools used by organizations, but also communication processes and business practices as a whole. Here, we look at five top business communication trends to look out for in 2016:
Communications Tools Are Increasingly Web-Based
Business communications are increasingly taking place over the web. Technologies like VoIP are already reducing the need for desktop phones, while the Internet and Web Real Time Communications (WebRTC) are facilitating video conferencing from anywhere in the world using standard browsers and applications. This type of web-based communication is progressing even further thanks to new technology companies like Agora.io, who bring a mobile-first network optimization approach to WebRTC, meeting the global and distributed communication challenges businesses face today.
Considering WebRTC’s easy implementation and its ability to allow audio, video, and data sharing directly in the browser, there is less-and-less reason to maintain a conventional communication infrastructure. This technology makes it easier, cheaper, and more secure to communicate over the web. There should be wider adoption as its applications grow.
Continued Shift Towards Mobile
With more communication taking place over the web, the role of traditional communication tools have become increasingly obsolete. In addition to ensuring your business contacts’ information is available at all times, the real benefits of mobile devices are seen in the applications that they run. For example, internal announcements are often made on social media as we continue to apply new technologies to business communications, and these transmissions are accessible on mobile devices.
Collaboration platforms and productivity applications are supporting this trend towards remote working by allowing staff members to conduct business on the go as long as they have internet access. These types of tools give employees access to business data and CRM platforms via almost any mobile device. Thanks to the power and versatility of mobile platforms and devices, the increased adoption of enterprise mobility is able to continue without hindering any business processes or negatively impacting employee performance.
Increased Reliance on Cloud-Based Solutions
This increased mobility provides an opportunity for cloud-based communication solutions to prove their worth. Many companies are already employing cloud technology because of its reduced cost and easy implementation. However, leveraging this technology’s capabilities will become necessary for companies who want to remain competitive.
Hosted real-time communications provides a superior business communication solution than on-site systems. Integrating this technology with existing CRM software gives client-facing employees, such as sales staff, customer representatives, or office executives, a single place to access client data to manage customer interactions seamlessly. This level of service enhances customer experience while improving business efficiency. It also offers the added benefit of allowing employees to log onto the back-end systems on any device, even if their company-issued hardware is not accessible at that time.
Bigger Emphasis Placed on Enterprise and Cloud Security
While this notion is nothing new, maintaining enterprise-grade security will be as important as ever in 2016. With organizations continuing to migrate towards mobile and cloud solutions, the increased number of associated devices means more potential breakpoints.
Recent high-profile cyber-attacks, like the one on Sony in 2014, have highlighted just how exposed any system network can be. The technological progress that continues to provide us with new business tools means that new opportunities continually arise for hackers. Each new technology has its vulnerabilities that must be identified and secured, and the rapidly-changing threats to communication applications require dedicated efforts to ensure the continued integrity of sensitive business communications.
Web and Cloud Solutions Drive an Increase in IT Spending
Despite the potential cost savings of operating web-based communication solutions, the implementation of those solutions and the vital security required to protect it will contribute to an increase in overall IT spending in 2016. Furthermore, with the economy showing positive signs of growth, businesses are looking to keep pace, which may lead to increased hiring. This spending will add to the cost of ensuring that the latest technologies are applied and kept up-to-date as businesses seek to remain technologically competitive.
As more solutions move to cloud and web, businesses will assign more of their funding to IT while other areas may experience a reduction in spending. The maintenance of these new technologies, as well as the increased number of connected devices from the hiring process, will require an increase in IT support to ensure consistency of the IT experience for both employees and customers.
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