Technology Fosters Business Continuity

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Technology Fosters Business Continuity

VC Gopalratnam, VP, IT and CIO, Globalization, Cisco

The adoption of technology by enterprises has accelerated tremendously over the last few years and redefined the way enterprises run their businesses, facilitate communication among their stakeholders, and conduct research and development. As technology continues to evolve and provide businesses with new tools to collaborate and communicate effectively, factors such as geography, time and distance are becoming less relevant; the redundancy of 'physical' office spaces is beginning to grow.
Increasingly, organizations are investing in technologies that help employees work from remote locations, collaborate seamlessly with co-workers and retain business continuity. They seek new age 'mobility solutions' that allow employees to be productive while on the move, and understand that technologies such as cloud computing and virtualization help employees stay 'connected,' as long as they have access to the internet.

Connected workforce
On their part, employees seek access to corporate information anywhere, at any time, and on any device. This increasingly mobile workforce likes to extend the workplace to home offices, airports, hotels, and recreation venues using mobile phones and wireless networking. New age devices like PDAs, tablets, and mobile phones are helping employees to exchange information and ideas while on the go and tools like video are being used to communicate replacing text documents, email and slides.
Technologies that have gained popularity at the consumer level are making their way into the enterprise; Web 2.0 tools such as instant messaging, IPTV, video communications and social networking platforms are enabling seamless collaboration. The explosion of social media-Twitter, Facebook, YouTube- has empowered people to engage in an increasing number of online conversations and interactions, which organizations are beginning to incorporate into their workflow to respond to customers in an organized and measureable way.
Technologies that help extend the existing investment in communication systems, provide access to critical information and create a consistent end-user experience across applications, networks, and devices, are increasingly being sought after.

Virtual offices
By leveraging on next-generation broadband, wireless and new integration technologies, organizations are able to create virtual workplaces, become eco-friendly, improve their efficiencies and maximize profit. Technologies like TelePresence, wireless LANs, and voice solutions like IP telephony, unified communications (UC), along with virtualization, cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) are enabling employees to collaborate with each other easily. Rich media conferencing and digital media systems (DMS) are shifting the dynamics of traditional business operations-distance is no longer a barrier; real-time communication is instantaneous; and network-integrated security is a reality. The network is today enabling voice and video to Internet telephones, cell phones, PDAs, iPods, video game consoles, and televisions. These advances will become more dramatic, as more organizations deploy an IP-based infrastructure.

What the future holds
The market is moving towards an era of consolidation as concepts like 'Virtual Workplace' gain acceptance. Mobile devices are taking on traditional office capabilities even as social networking tools and virtual meetings simulate the feeling of being in-person and instant messaging and other real-time collaboration tools are becoming the norm.
Going forward, technologies like cloud computing will become mainstream and organizations will re-align their strategies to add more value added services. The market will slowly but surely move towards technology-enabled business transformation services, where services providers address the pain points of the customer and also provide them with long-term value addition.

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