The tools that we use to link people, information and communities are evolving at lightning speed. Business leaders and IT decision makers are recognising that collaboration is a way to boost productivity and gain competitive advantage within tight budget constraints. Given the rapid pace of change in ICT and consumers’ willingness to utilise technology to enhance communications, Wael Abdulal, Cisco’s Collaboration Sales Manager in the UAE, outlines his five collaboration predictions for 2013.
- Mobile adoption will accelerate post PC-era – Fewer people will use desktop PCs to collaborate. Boundaries between families, workers, and friends will continue to vanish as people’s lives become intertwined with their mobile devices. According to a recent announcement from Research and Markets, the mobile subscriber base is expected to reach 6.5 billion by the end of 2012 and increase to 7.5 billion by 2015. They forecast that 300 billion apps will be downloaded annually by 2016; ten times more than was recorded in 2011. As a result, IT managers will have to look for options that enable workers to collaborate on their own terms. Employees will increasingly access presence, instant messaging, voice, video, voice messaging, desktop sharing, and conferencing capabilities via apps built for their mobile device, insisting on a consistent user experience (whether Android, iPhone, RIM, or another). As a result, businesses will go from managing multiple company apps to managing apps for a single employee across multiple platforms, including PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones. The enterprise app store model will take off since businesses can track, manage, and deliver applications to workers.
- Video will become more universal – Intercompany collaboration with video will become more pervasive as companies of all sizes, from big enterprises to small/mid-sized businesses, share in-person experiences with customers, partners and vendors. Product innovation will support demand for interoperable intercompany collaboration with secure text, voice, real-time video, and presence capabilities across multiple device platforms. Video will capitalise on the ease of use of touch-based and gesture-based devices in the marketplace, enabling greater adoption of video for collaboration and business transformation. Simplified through automation, employees will be able to instantly capture video and automatically uploaded it to their company’s intranet.
- Contact Centers will evolve as customers choose to interact with companies in radical new ways – Customer service centers will enable more proactive communications with their customers, allowing them to interact with agents through a variety of consumer-type mobile applications. We will continue to see a surge from customers in the utilisation of voice, video, chat, social media, and the web to interact with agents to resolve their issues. Agents will also enjoy working from anywhere as collaboration-enabled virtualised desktop environments become viable, cost-effective alternatives for enterprises.
- Cloud and desktop virtualisation will enhance collaboration capabilities across the enterprise –Enterprise adoption of cloud-based collaboration will continue at a record pace in the post PC-era. Unified communications will become one of the top elements for enterprise cloud strategies as part of a hosted collaboration offering. Companies will increasingly demand desktop virtualisation solutions that enable employees to access data when they need it, from any location at any time. Video-conferencing cloud services will enable small/mid-size business to use video to collaborate inside and outside their company without the infrastructure investment required for video.
- Social business processes will become mainstream –In 2013, employees will use social business tools more often to be more productive at work, as business applications are “collaboration-enabled” by social software platforms. For example, from within structured, task-driven applications like CRM, people will be able to see their colleagues’ activity, find experts and ask questions. This type of social interaction will proliferate with the advent of HTML5 and as more developers use open standards such as XMPP and public Application Program Interfaces (APIs) to support platform services. Micro-blogging and instant messaging will also come together, connected via a “unified follow model” that combines today’s “buddy list” with the enterprise social graph.