Work is something you do, no longer a place you go
The Travel disruptions in the past year have introduced Irish businesses to the real benefits of mobile working and unified communications. Mary Bradshaw is the managing director at Damovo
Are we looking at one of the most turbulent years for communications in a long time?
This year has been about tackling communications from a business continuity perspective. We’ve had heavy snow, flooding and the volcanic ash clouds, all of which have disrupted travel and prevented workers from being present in the office.
There’s no doubt that these events and incidents of H1N1 in 2009 have made us think about the way we do business.
How has this actually changed the way we do business?
Instead of being solely on the chief technical officer’s agenda, such issues are now entering the business arena and the domain of the CEO and chief financial officer. The IT budget and unified communications (UC) are important to them.
The message needs to be clear. I’m a businessperson and not a technologist. I don’t need a deep understanding of what goes into every application but what I do want to know is how it helps my business to continue when there’s a disruption or how it is going to help me transform my business.
Can you give me examples of the way UC technology benefits business?
I had a business meeting recently in London around the time of the volcanic ash cloud and about eight of my colleagues – some from Brazil and Mexico – were stuck in London for one week. Because we use UC technology they were able to access all of their work applications and virtually attend all of their internal meetings.
Equally relevant was the time we had a colleague due to give a client presentation on the benefits of UC.
Everything was set up for the meeting in the office when he found out that his wife had contracted swine flu so he couldn’t possibly risk infecting anyone in work.
The solution was simple: he used UC technology to make his presentation on its benefits. He had his laptop, access to the system and the call was put through from his home into the office.
What does this mean for the office as we know it?
With that client presentation we were able to show that there is no such thing as going into the office anymore. I sincerely believe that in the near future we will not be talking about going to work; we will be talking about what we do and not where we go.
Our job is to help our customers understand the impact of spending a few bob on OCS (office communication server) and see the effect a truly unified communications system has on your business.
But at the end of the day don’t company budgets have the final say?
In terms of budget, companies do have to realistically assess the return on investment. During a recession this is examined more closely.
Right now we’re still in a downturn. Customers are not spending very much so companies need to know what they can do now that will instantly improve business performance and this is where OCS and UC can help.
In terms of stand-alone communications systems this can be quite costly but what organisations like us can do is to put OCS or some element of UC onto an existing infrastructure. We can put on a full suite of UC on any existing PABX (private automatic branch exchange).
It’s important to be able to look at what you already have in place, what you have to spend and where you want to get to, then have someone help you tie all of these ends together.
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