Anywhere Workers (Connected World Series - V)
Naresh Wadhwa, President and Country Manager, Cisco India and SAARC
Technology is evolving at a fast pace and dramatically changing the way people interact with each other at work, at home and on the move. By 2013 the mobile phone is projected to become the most common device for accessing the Internet. This change is directed by a series of trends that include explosive growth of Smartphones, consumerization of IT, and move towards cloud-based software application delivery.
Bringing an end to supremacy of the PC, network-based collaboration is today helping to share information over phone, voicemail and email, while advanced collaboration tools like unified messaging, presence, mobility and remote services are enabling work from any physical location. Computing devices such as Tablets which come with video and social capabilities are providing rich, “connected” experiences to people enabling communication through multiple streams.
While each of these developments has been under way for several years now, their effect is expanding as they move into mainstream adoption on a global scale. According to IDC, 57% of workers today use social media for business purposes at least once per week, and 15% of them use a consumer tool instead of the corporate-sponsored one.
Rather than resisting this trend, companies are embracing these principles. While challenging for IT, the ability to capture customer opinion and provide service in real time, locate expertise and crowd source new product ideas using social software is compelling to business. Businesses today recognize the value of technologies like video to improve service and save cost not just in areas such as conferencing and training, but also live problem resolution in manufacturing, global interviewing in HR, virtual receptionists and to deliver remote healthcare and banking, amongst others.
Increasingly cloud-based computing models are offering a rich and easy-to-use browser experience along with cost savings and security of centrally managed and maintained applications. Made available globally they are allowing IT organizations to enable remote and distant workforces with collaboration tools cost effectively. This means in the post-PC world IT is actively enabling a new workspace that understands the individual nature of the user’s work, and provides the best possible experience as the user changes role, location, device and style of interaction. This workspace is built for the long term, capable of extending support to new devices, applications and interaction styles as they come along, while still accommodating the existing landscape and adding value to it.
Architectural foundations that support open standards and interoperability, together with a set of shared services and state of the art applications are helping to provide a consistent and superior collaboration experience regardless of device, content, location, interaction style. They provide a workspace that is personalized yet controllable, mobile, social, visual and virtual. The next breakthrough levels of business innovation and efficiency will come from an organizations’ ability to embrace these new trends and engage with employees, customers and partners more closely to accelerate workplace transformation and promote operational excellence