In The Moment: Communications Embedded Into Workflow
With the old fashioned “waterfall” project management solutions giving way to more agile development approaches, these companies are recognizing there are many different races to be run to win the “Gold Medal” in business – launching new products, services and solutions as business becomes even more “hyper-competitive” in the context of a global economy on the rise again.
"Get it done! How is it that some companies are able to move from the spark of inspiration – to the process of innovation to the rewards of commercialization, faster and more easily than other companies ?"
Companies who understand the value of truly human communications, in concert with data, are making it easier and more fun for teams to build things together. They are tapping innovation everywhere, acting on “spurts” of insight, and doing so in such an efficient way that they can get ten times more done during a work day than ever before so they can also live their lives both inside and outside the workplace.
By providing teams with applications they actually like, applications that are social, mobile, visual, intuitive and fun, these emerging companies who are investing in ensuring their people are happy, productive, competitive outside, and collaborative inside.
These companies are embedding the ability to talk with a colleague, share screens, and simply “touch” to join a video conference inside the applications that already drive their business. Many of the small teams even leave the streams “open” to maintain a feeling of being in the same office across vast distances.
Imagine employees working throughout the day – regardless of where they are – on a browser-based communications platform enabled with messaging and social messaging applications that eliminate the need for old-fashioned desktop phones or even new-fashioned unified communication software that has to be deployed and maintained by IT. This can truly create virtual teams where distance is not viewed as a disadvantage.
Real Time Communications is being embedded into everyday applications, changing the way we work, making the way we work easier, better and more transparently. Ultimately, the enterprise is able to see how individuals and teams are connecting with each other and how their communications behaviors are driving outcomes, and can then continually improve the “alchemy” of bonding business process and workflow with human communications. Here are a few examples:
1. CRM on Steroids: One Touch, Your Connected!
Whether you’re a sales person, a customer service rep, an inside sales manager, an executive – with real time communications embedded in your CRM experience, you can see immediately – who is available online to answer questions, how to best contact them (voice, video, IM), and then can set up an immediate way to screen share and otherwise view related documents. Let’s say one of your top customers has experienced service or product issues and calls the service desk. The sales, service and leadership team (those who have subscribed to receive alerts from this top customer), can immediately be notified via the channel of their choice (email, text, other) and jump in to help.
Escalation can also be built in, with simple policy rules that enable the first line team to receive the issue, collaborate and hopefully solve, but if the issue is not solved within a certain time, then escalate to others in the company who can contribute to a positive outcome. Unlike “email” which is becoming increasing asynchronous, policies can be set up so the right team members at the right time can receive the right alerts in the channel of their choice, then with a single touch or swipe, join the conversation or send back a note that they are not available. All of this can be recorded for future playback, enabling your company to coach and improve “the response.”
2. Field Service Made Exponentially Easier
Enterprises with employees in the field have long used mobile workforce management software to improve the efficiency of getting “physical things” from one place to the other, and fixing those physical things whether they are servers, air conditioning units, key lock systems or industrial equipment. The solution has involved a number of modes, from smartphone applications, to tablets, but until now, little has been developed to create a unified experience of keeping in touch with the team back home while rolling out.
By embedding voice, video and messaging applications “inside” these apps, software and connectivity can “mimic” the human experience, and allow, for example, a technician driving out to a petroleum refinery to fix equipment to not only understand where he or she is going (with maps and GPS). It will also greet them when they arrive, where the equipment is located, what the equipment manual says, and allow the technician to go in, resolve the problem, tap a button to speak with an expert live in case the fix cannot be determined. No need to “switch” from phone to phone, tablet to laptop – all of this real time communications happens “inside” the experience. Later, this “big data” is very valuable in analyzing the efficiency and impact of the overall field service team, which creates insights that can help improve products and services going forward.
3. Ad Hoc Corporate Collaboration:No Application Download Required
Immediate multi-party, multi-media collaboration simply from the browser! With computer telephony integration, video can be integrated into enterprise PBX systems, enabling “screen pops” that include options to text, video or share screens. There is no setting up a conference bridge or webinar, no dialing, no codes – just one click to initiate video and screen sharing.
Imagine you are on a team, preparing for a Board meeting. You are on opposite sides of the world and are hitting a hard deadline to present a draft to the CEO. With immediate collaboration, in stream of an email chat or other interaction, you and your contributor can pop open a file in a browser (from a smartphone, tablet, mobile web session, laptop or desktop) and start sharing.
The opportunity to embed real time communications features into existing workflow platforms is endless. We are limited only by our creativity. The capabilities are here today, and proven to scale. With business communications “in the moment,” we can be more responsive, more creative and less fatigued by too much information, too many channels and too little time.
Brad Bush is Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at GENBAND.