Industry Update: nexogy’s State of Social Business Collaboration

Posted on Thu, Sep 12, 2013 @ 09:01 AM by Juan Canto

collaborationThe way that we work and the way that we work together are changing. Have you noticed?

As noted by nexogy CEO Carlos Lahrssen (@lahrssen)

Microsoft acquired Skype for $8.5B in October of 2011 and Yammer for $1.2B in June of 2011. This clearly states how much of an impact these businesses are having with big tech companies. The one with the most software penetration in the enterprise sector values social collaboration as a tool for businesses. Not only has Microsoft acquired these two important players, but has also included them inside the Microsoft Office Productivity Suite. ‘Productivity’ — used now with social collaboration and you can immediately grasp what the future will look like for this specific subject.“

According to a recent survey of more than 600 employees from around the world, 2/3 use software to collaborate. For half of this group, this technology is old hat—in place for years—while others are experiencing the impact of these tools for the first time. 

Why are businesses adopting these social tools? According to Forbes’ Jacob Morgan (@jacobm), these channels are being used for a variety of purposes:

  • Daily communications, including quick questions.
  • Peer-to-peer collaboration and conceptual brainstorming on assignments.
  • Easy file-sharing capabilities.

As BYOD and remote workforces become more of a norm instead of an opportunity, need will arise to take a look at these channels from a more holistic, strategic perspective as part of your overall business operations—what impact could they have on your bottom-line?

Increased sales, according to Information Week’s David Carr (@DavidFCarr), who notes strategic oversight while using collaborative technology, such as Chatter, integrated with your existing CRM systems, such as Salesforce, can help connect you to increase opportunity for lead generation, expert knowledge, and revenue streams. 

Today’s businesses are entering a world of integrated tools where the cloud, mobile technology, and social channels work as one efficient solution for the betterment of your business.  

Below, we discuss these trends, and Lahrssen offers his thoughts on how collaborative technological innovations are impacting today’s (increasingly mobile) workforce.

Technology That Kills Your Deskphone

The days of being chained-to-your-desk have come to a close. No longer are you connected to wires or plugged into walls to operate your business. Freedom and flexibility are now at your fingertips, and the deskphone, as you know it, has left the building. 

And, according to case study findings by InTech, powered by The International Society of Automation, this is a good thing—it brings advancement to industrial operations:

  • Anytime reporting on metrics that cause immediate impact on business operations and profits.
  • Strategic monitoring capabilities for conditional availability.
  • Data collection as part of a big picture strategy—connected to workflows and direct business processes.

Supplementing, and in some cases replacing laptop ownership, tablets are becoming the next big thing, as a result of portability and increased access to the information we seek daily. Reports from Forrester‘s Global Business and Consumer Tablet Forecast Update, 2013 to 2017 see adoption rates nearing 1 billion devices owned worldwide by 2017.

The benefits go beyond a change in device.

The real change, the disruptive change I might add, is the fact that this technology not only un-chains you from your desk or your typical workspace but also from your device. No longer will you need to have your tablet, smartphone or computer to login and do your daily tasks as if you were using your own device. I can ask for somebody's phone, I can even walk to a pay phone and make a phone call just as if I was sitting on my desk. Moreover, if this is an overseas call, it will be billed to my office phone.”

-nexogy CEO, Carlos Lahrssen 

The future of technology is now, as Lahrssen explains:

“The future is the here, the future is almost a thing of the past. Contact center agents and supervisors no longer need to be tied down to a site where all share the workspace. All applications can now run in the cloud and (you guessed it!) voice is just another one of those. As mobile phones get smarter, battery life is improved and companies like nexogy engage in mobile offerings through MVNO agreements with the likes of Sprint and Verizon, the mobile workforce becomes the now, the way people will communicate will change the way we exchange information forever.”

Systems for Secure, Private IM

The business case for collaborative solutions, such as private chat and instant messenger, is simple: 

  • Owned networks.
  • Increased productivity through employee only accessibility for fewer distractions than public social channels.
  • More collaborative results (two minds are greater than one!).

We all know the clutter that can accumulate in our email inboxes. Simplify knowledge sharing in a streamlined, out-of-the-inbox solution that helps your employees connect to their co-workers and your customer-base direct.

Social channels play an important role in how companies engage with their customers. Social channels help the user become accessible through the virtual presence aspect of it. Private chats may be more into team productivity and company security than they are social, but they surely will bring the social aspect into what I like to call the intra-company, what happens inside stays inside. (And we thank R&R Partners Ad Agency (@RRPartners) for this awesome sentence!)”

-nexogy CEO, Carlos Lahrssen 

As you select your method for social collaboration, choose wisely and think strategically and big picture. Lahrssen explains:

Customers have other options. Using social channels as a means of pitch-selling will not go far these days because consumers end up researching before they buy. If you engage customers through social channels so that they are updated in terms of what your company offers, that is only 40% of the work. The rest is engagement on why your product is so unique and special that switching to another brand will only hurt. The fact is that social channels are delivered through the internet and if anything, the internet is the place for research and for users to find the best of what they are looking for.”

Keep this idea in mind as you look to adopt the perfect solution for your individualized business needs.

And be sure to keep security top of mind, as “companies need to protect their intellectual property more than ever, while allowing for employees and team members to collaborate socially in order to increase productivity. It is a dominant trend and it will continue to grow as businesses realize the important role it plays within the corporate ecosystem.” 

Momentum for More Productive Employee Meetings

One of the first impacts you may see as a result of integrating social collaboration tools may be bottom-line cost savings.

“Social collaboration tools aid business productivity mostly by cost. Small businesses in the need to engage and collaborate can use free tools such as Skype and saving thousands of dollars a year in communication costs. Software licenses or ROUs like GoToMeeting or Webex also provide cost-saving solutions.”

-nexogy CEO, Carlos Lahrssen

But buyer beware.

“As companies grow and need to protect their intellectual property as well as maintain high levels of security to avoid data loss, they will need to shift to the next generation of collaboration tools that help the enterprise remain connected at lower costs while enhancing productivity.” 

For now, these tools serve as an innovative force, pushing the boundaries of how we work and play, and changing enterprise processes.

And the future looks bright for these methods of unified communication for business. As No Jitter (@nojitter)’s Marty Parker reports on Gartner’s 2013 UC Magic Quadrant results, industry leadership, the user experience, interoperability, mobility, and cloud or hybrid options are the way of the future—areas where you must keep up, or be left behind.

How does your business benefit from social collaboration? Let us know in the comment section below.

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About the Author

Juan Canto
Juan Canto
Juan Canto is CFO for nexogy and LD Telecommunications, Inc., nexogy's parent company. Canto has been serving as CFO since 2000, and specializes in commercial and corporate banking, as well as U.S. more