“Keep moving forward” – An idea first popularised by Walt Disney – is fundamental to doing business in an interconnected, integrated global community.
The finance department
Twenty-seven per cent1 of multinationals say they cannot easily gauge their global expenditure on communications. What’s more, 56 per cent2 of multinationals find it hard to predict their communications costs and 31 per cent3 don’t feel in control of this expenditure.
Moreover, communications can require significant capital expenditure without guaranteeing returns. It becomes a cost centre with ongoing maintenance costs, but with no link to business value.
Lastly, the demands of always connected roaming users for ever more data-intensive services creates further financial challenges for businesses that are looking to balance cost control with productivity.
The future for the finance department
Organisations will aim to create systems that make communications costs more visible and controllable. They should adopt new cost models that provide for global pricing and consistent global tariffs. Intelligent automated data-gathering needs to be instituted to produce faster, cleaner information.
Once basic communications management is under control, organisations should move into optimising value for money. For example, the costs of fixed on-site communications management can be shifted into the cloud, removing the cost of maintaining legacy infrastructure. Usefully, because this cost is commoditised it moves on to the Opex balance sheet.
Additionally, by managing fixed and mobile communications in the cloud via a single supplier, organisations will benefit from lowest-cost call routing, which brings further savings.
In due course, organisations will implement a simplified and predictable method of managing communications that will grow with the organisation. This will use a transparent costing model that allows enterprises to predict costs and plan accordingly as the organisation changes shape.
Ultimately, the organisation will create numerous savings by changing the way it communicates and operates – savings that will make a difference to the company’s ability to grow and achieve its objectives.
The IT department
IT departments are facing the demands of an increasingly mobile workforce – be they mobile, office-based, home-based, contractors or remote workers – that expects ever higher levels of service, ease of use and accessibility. The consumerisation of devices in the workplace raises even more complications as well as security concerns.
The future for the IT department
The goal is to reduce the complexity inherent in managing multiple devices, networks and methods of communication. IT departments should be freed from managing legacy systems and maintenance issues, so that their energy goes into innovation, not preservation of the status quo.
In the future, IT departments will deliver integrated communications as a service over which it has much greater control and all users will have the same experience and capabilities no matter where they are. All devices will be capable of seamless upgrades, all at the same time, with no inconsistencies between sites or systems. IT’s focus will then be on adding real value by building on the foundations of what’s in place; fire-fighting should be a thing of the past.
Operations and HR
Slick communications clearly matter to operations and HR. However mobile working means HR must work harder to track the hours and performance of individual employees. A lack of harmonised, integrated communications will result in inefficient operations at best and missed opportunities at worst. Employees will be unable to collaborate effectively and top performers could be lost to competitors that offer their staff better technology.
The future for Operations and HR
The enterprise of the future will outsource its communications processes in order to focus on its core business. Contracts and services will be consolidated with a single supplier. Organisations will achieve operational efficiencies as well as centralised control. Future policy enforcement, innovation, contract management and support will be streamlined and simplified.
Collaboration tools will be embedded to refine process management and speed to market. And a high level of visibility and control of the communications estate will enable strong management and robust cost control.
The organisation will achieve high levels of employee satisfaction with the flexibility and simplicity of the communications array. Communications and processes will be intuitive, seamless and robust, with regulatory and corporate compliance hard-wired in. Employees will be focused on doing business rather than managing infrastructure.
If businesses are indeed going to “keep moving forward”, they will need a far greater appreciation of the close relationship between their employees and the communications technology on which they rely. This connection is where the real future of any company can be found and, handled properly, it could completely transform the way we do business tomorrow.
1 The Future of Business Communications”. p26. Circle Research (on behalf of Vodafone). Results compiled from 247 online panel interviews with senior decision makers across IT and non-IT functions within multinational corporations with over 1,000 global employees. ↩
2 The Future of Business Communications”. p78 Op cit. ↩
3 The Future of Business Communications”. p30. Op cit. ↩