The world has moved to mobile, creating a culture of “work on demand.” Employees expect to be able to seamlessly connect with their colleagues on the go and at their convenience.
Email stands at the center of this communication but we’ve already seen a shift from devices like BlackBerries as email devices, to iPhones and other smartphones. Email is still a powerful tool for written communications, but when there is more that needs to be conveyed, and a need for faster and two-way communication, there are alternatives that may be more efficient.
We introduced Voxer Business, focused on high quality voice messaging, about a year ago, but before that we saw a very interesting trend with our consumer service. At Fortune 1,000 companies, employees are using Voxer to communicate. This shift has a lot of implications for businesses, especially when employees are using unofficial tools for official communication.
One way to counter this trend is for businesses to adopt these tools in their organizations, but there are certain products that are more “enterprise-ready” than others. Here are some key elements that companies should look for when choosing an enterprise communication tool:
1. Security: Protecting company and customer data is crucial to a company’s business and a breach could be disastrous. At the same time, it should be easy for employees to use software on mobile devices without having to jump through security hoops and protocols. Features like single sign-on (SSO) can help companies tie business accounts to all their tools, ensuring there’s one secure ID an employee can use throughout the organization. Policies around data retention and data encryption can ensure that data is secure and stored, following organizational codes.
2. Organization in teams: A lot of tools have group chat abilities, but enterprise-ready products will allow administrators to pre-configure groups. This is a convenient way to ensure that anyone who is relevant on a team gets messages, and there is no miscommunication.
3. Interoperability: Gone are the days where there was a standard device assigned to all employees. BYOD is becoming a well-accepted policy and a lot of employees are also given a range of options to choose from when selecting their laptops and mobile devices. A good tool will give organizations and employees freedom to choose their devices, while providing the same experience regardless of operating system.
4. Customer Experience: Enterprise products should be as intuitive as consumer products. Users should be able to pick up a product and start using it without a lot of guidance. It’s important to have support teams for business users but making the product simple to use is crucial so that employees can quickly make the transition.
While there are already a number of collaboration tools that organizations are using, I expect them to expand their communication tools to improve efficiency and responsiveness. There will be a drastic reduction in both phone calls and emails as employees look for products that can help them instantaneously communicate.
This switch has real benefits for organizations, with the potential to increase productivity. In order to make this transition, there is a combination of factors involved -- a variety of good communication tools that are enterprise-ready, and a willingness for companies to adopt new tools and encourage employees to use them.
Tom Katis founded Voxer in 2007 after a tour of duty in Afghanistan as part of the U.S. Special Forces. He experienced the shortcomings of traditional walkie-talkies in a situation where urgent communication was needed. HE created Voxer to solve the communication challenges of companies needing to manage an increasingly mobile workforce. Visit www.voxer.com