When it comes to keeping workers productive, businesses and their IT departments have to make sure employees have the right tools to conduct business and collaborate with co-workers. Unified communications (UC) plays a big role in that by allowing everyone to work closer together.
However, mobility presents a new problem when it comes to UC. Employees want the same type of experience they get on their desktops. Without it, they can lose precious hours, sometimes totaling as many as 2.5 hours a week, which costs some businesses up to $500,000 in lost productivity.
As a result, one in three enterprises are implementing or planning to implement a mobile UC strategy that brings the best of these desktop technologies to smartphones and laptops, according to "Mobile Communications: The Emergence of 4D Convergence," a Dec. 6 report from Sonus Networks and Webtorials.
"I think we're seeing businesses embrace this with increased velocity," Terry Robinson, the principal marketing manager for communication applications at Sonus, told us.
We're seeing a lot traction with this, especially with smartphones that now have the capacity to do video. A lot of people use these devices outside the office, and there is more and more of a comfort level. People tend to use smartphones and tablets in their social environments, and that usually spurs the end users to push these requirements into the workforce. A lot of the workforce is mobile now, and businesses now see a strong value in this.
In a blog post last month, Rodney Brown showed that the bring your own device (BYOD) trend is one of the main reasons workers want UC capabilities on their smartphones. We also looked this week at how some companies are looking to provide a richer UC experience for workers looking to collaborate.
If the IT department or the CIO is looking for a reason to invest in this type of mobile UC and is trying to justify the return on investment, the report offers some interesting tidbits on how the market is changing.
- By providing mobile UC to workers, businesses can restore up to $500,000 in lost productivity per 100 employees.
- The lack of offsite UC infrastructure could mean that the average worker loses up to 2.5 hours of productivity each week.
- About two-thirds of knowledge workers are mobile about 25 percent of the time.
- About 18 percent of projects are delayed when workers cannot collaborate, and 16 percent of projects are delayed when someone making a key decision cannot be found.
Robinson said many employees are willing to download UC apps to their smartphones and tablets, but IT is starting to catch up to provide a better range of more business-ready applications that meet company standards.
This all seems to indicate that UC is about to change in a big way. What should IT do when it comes to this change in UC policy? What are the best-practices that all companies can invoke to keep employees productive but data safe?