The role of unified communications and collaboration (UCC) technology across industry rapidly took on a new element last year with the onset of COVID-19, and the function of such technology in the enterprise has not stood still.
Far from it.
After that initial rush to adopt new technology aimed at enabling remote work last year, a new consideration is emerging for partners: how to keep up with the still-evolving role of UCC technology within clients’ businesses as they settle down into a new normal?
“Continuing to evolve the UCC delivery capabilities we have within the organisation will be an ongoing requirement, as our customers’ needs adapt, and the solutions we have available to sell and deliver also evolve,” CCL marketing and strategy director Tim Howell told Reseller News.
While Howell is quite certain that UCC will continue to play a significant role in terms of how organisations interact and engage going forward, it is less clear precisely how the technology will be consumed a year from now, in two years, or longer.
“What happens in the coming year may be outside our control: the continued presence of COVID and the efficacy and distribution of vaccinations will all influence what the market needs from UCC solutions,” he said. “Like our customers, we need to evolve too.
“We’re all impacted by the introduction of these new technologies, and while technology providers like us were fortunate to have this infrastructure in place, we had to work out how to change our behaviour and plans to collaborate, to sell and to provide support – within our organisation and with our customers and stakeholders,” he added.
From Howell’s perspective, there’s a growing realisation that organisations will continue to have a mix of in-person and remote or digital communications going forward. This awareness translates into a sense that, for most of us, it’s unlikely we will be going back to how things ‘used to be’.
Rather, the new normal will be shaped by multiple factors, according to Howell, including productivity, economic, convenience and, in many cases, personal preference – or combinations of any of these considerations.
“Similarly, organisations will also need to adapt and evolve to effectively engage with other stakeholders – such as customers and partners – who may or may not embrace these solutions to differing degrees,” Howell suggested.
While it’s likely that some organisations will go all-in on UCC, others may continue to prefer in-person engagements.
As such, every organisation, and most individuals within them, will need to adapt to the changing expectations and, Howell notes, such adaptation won’t purely be related to how technology can support us, respectively, into the future.
“There are people and process considerations at play here too, and it will be the organisations that can get all three – the people, process, and technology – right that will be more successful,” Howell said.
How these factors affect the consumption of UCC services over the long-term remains to be seen but, for Howell, it’s safe to assume that there will be an ongoing mix of technologies, evolution of processes and a desire for people to work flexibly – in the office and elsewhere.
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