Enterprise Mobility & Collaboration

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Distributed in GUY CLAPPERTON Business journalist and author, he writes for the Financial Times, The Times, The Guardian and The Independent. DEREK DU PREEZ Freelance writer, he specialises in enterprise software and public-sector IT, and contributes to computing publi- cations. DAN MATTHEWS Journalist and author of The New Rules of Business, he writes for newspa- pers, magazines and websites on a range of issues. CHRIS MIDDLETON Consulting editor and former editor of Computing mag- azine, he was also editor of Computer Business Review. JAMES NIXON Freelance IT journalist, he writes for a number of publications on cloud- based technology and mobile communications. CHARLES OR- TON-JONES Award-winning journalist, he was editor-at-large of LondonlovesBusi - ness.com and editor of EuroBusiness. RACONTEUR CONTRIBUTORS Publishing Manager Richard Hadler Digital and Social Manager Rebecca McCormick Head of Production Natalia Rosek Design Alessandro Caire Vjay Lad Kellie Jerrard Managing Editor Peter Archer Production Editor Benjamin Chiou BUSINESS CULTURE FINANCE HEALTHCARE LIFESTYLE SUSTAINABILITY TECHNOLOGY INFOGRAPHICS raconteur.net/enterprise-mobility-and-collaboration Although this publication is funded through advertising and sponsorship, all editorial is without bias and sponsored features are clearly labelled. For an upcoming schedule, partnership inquiries or feedback, please call +44 (0)20 3428 5230 or e-mail info@raconteur.net Raconteur is a leading publisher of special-interest content and research. Its publications and articles cover a wide range of topics, including business, finance, sustainability, healthcare, lifestyle and technology. Raconteur special reports are published exclusively in The Times and The Sunday Times as well as online at raconteur.net The information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources the Proprietors believe to be correct. However, no legal liability can be accepted for any errors. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior consent of the Publisher. © Raconteur Media I n 2015 businesses of all sizes have access to an extensive range of com- munications systems. Mobile and cloud infrastructure, using light- ning-quick broadband capabilities, have inspired countless inventions in hard- ware and software, all coming together to create a vast and varied landscape. But "comms 2.0" remains in its infan- cy. The cloud, for example, has been a recognisable business tool for just a few years, and the services that help compa- nies benefit from it are fragmented and often conflicting. There is a long list of providers, man- ufacturers and developers at work, only a handful of whom are consciously col- laborating, while many are actively plot- ting the destruction of the rest. Creating a system bringing these together is a bit like trying to unify magnets when they are poles apart. Meanwhile, adding to the complexity for businesses, employees everywhere have shunned enterprise technology in favour of simpler and more attractive consumer grade solutions, some of which fail to prioritise top business challenges such as security and interoperability. It means building a fluid communica - tions network incorporating fixed line, mobile, data and other dimensions is far from plain sailing. In fact, it is the cor- porate equivalent of breaking up a mass brawl and then asking the perpetrators to shake hands. And that's just getting the technology mix right. Companies have to adopt the right combination of tools for their own unique DNA and integrate the package seamlessly to optimise workflows without alienating groups of employees. Cost is of course a factor, but then so is return on investment, the latter being a notoriously difficult thing to calculate when assessing the way people talk and write to each other. For instance, just what is the monetary benefit of giving everyone a smartphone? The prize for getting the answer right is huge, especially in a 24/7 business environment where the workforce is in - creasingly mobile and "always on". Com- munications were so much easier when working hours were predetermined and everyone sat at the same desk day in day out. Many in the communications business are frustrated by the seem - ing inelegance of various channels, despite the tantalising technology available. "The communications business is still not what it should be – a single seam- less solution to cover all mobile and fixed line, data and voice services," says Paul Leybourne, head of sales at Vodat International. "Sure, there are some solutions that cover aspects, but not seamlessly without compromises. Put another way, there is no unified solution on the market that covers best of breed in all areas. As a result, busi - nesses still procure solutions from differ- ent vendors." Nevertheless, a growing number of busi- nesses are adopting a strategic communi- cations approach. It's not just about indi- viduals being able to contact each other, but what this means more broadly for the organisation. Organisations have stopped thinking about efficiency among individuals and moved on to "business process efficiency" with a close eye on what it means for the bottom line. Graham Bevington, executive vice-pres - ident at Mitel, says: "Businesses are in- creasingly focused on improving the effi- ciency of their business processes, to the same degree that mobile technology has given individuals tremendous efficiencies and conveniences, such as personal bank - ing, calendar and e-mail on the go, and mobile video-conferencing with family and friends. "The key to process efficiency is apply - ing an open-integration approach that allows a variety of third-party applica- tions to be integrated easily and quickly. Some industry players are looking to build an 'uber-client', where efficiency has more to do with everyone working from one interface." A snippet of positive news on this score is that the industry is waking up to business con - cerns and working to create solutions that fit easily into portfolios. Over the next few years the focus will be on better integration, as well as increasingly pow- erful tools. "Communications products are getting better across the board. They continual- ly offer better user experiences and are easier for the IT function to deploy," says Mark Furness, chief executive of essensys. Yet Mr Furness adds that organisations will continue to rely on their people to put thought into procurement, consid - er the pros and cons of each integration, and devise an umbrella strategy for future changes to the communications mix. "The onus is generally on the IT func - tion to educate users and decision-mak- ers on the benefits of a unified commu- nications strategy and the products they recommend," he says. With increasingly powerful technology out there and many businesses scram - bling to find the most appropriate solu- tions for their requirements, the need to bring together various technologies in so- phisticated deployments has never been more real. Companies adopting mature approach- es will be able to reap the benefits before their rivals, while those taking a head-in- the-sand stance will find themselves at the mercy of a multi-headed communi - cations monster. Taming a multi-headed business monster Such is the vast array of technology on offer, organisations are spoilt for choice, but to succeed they must select the best business tools which connect staff, customers and suppliers OVERVIEW DAN MATTHEWS The need to bring together various technologies in sophisticated deployments has never been more real Pictures supplied by Getty Images ENTERPRISE MOBILITY & COLLABORATION | 03 RACONTEUR | 04 / 08 / 2015 raconteur.net

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