Big data can help firms improve collaboration


    Employee communication within the private sector is no longer tied down to a single platform. The advent of hosted PBX, social media and mobile devices in the workplace has given individuals a number of new ways to interact with colleagues, partners and customers.

    A recent report by Frost & Sullivan highlighted the growing adoption of social collaboration strategies across the enterprise, noting that the consumerization of IT is completely transforming the way organizations communicate. Rather than using a single, outdated platform, for example, firms are replacing their old phone system with innovative tools that can support mobile connectivity and the use of multiple interactive solutions, including email, videoconferencing and other products used in the contact center.

    "The proliferation of smart devices is driving a significant change in the way employees access corporate applications," Audrey William, head of research for ICT practice at Frost & Sullivan. "Additionally we will start seeing more of the unified communications solutions incorporate social media and collaboration as part of its solution."

    How big data is changing collaboration

    The advent of big data is changing how the private sector operates on a number of levels. In the past, businesses used a single land-line telephone system to for communications. Today, however, decision-makers are presented with a number of options that could dramatically improve collaboration in and outside of the office.

    The proliferation of these advanced solutions also creates challenges, however, as it is more difficult than ever to find the appropriate business phone system and other tools that meet long-term corporate priorities. For this reason, executives are encouraged to use big data to identify and address the deeper aspects of collaboration, especially when cloud computing, smartphones and social networks are brought into the equation, Frost & Sullivan reported.

    By analyzing how employees interact with each platform, decision-makers can assess whether specific tools are effective or impairing operations.

    "[Analyzing big data] will be the foundation of helping them benchmark themselves against competition as well as deepen their understanding of what is currently lacking as part of their overall product, marketing or customer service strategy," William asserted. "It is still early days and this area will evolve over time and there will be huge opportunity for vendors in the analytics and business intelligence space to develop social collaboration analytical tools."

    A separate report by Computerworld highlighted similar findings, noting that the evaluation of each communication tool is similar to developing a large mosaic one piece at a time. While the process may be slow and painstaking at the beginning, it will create a holistic view of a firm's operations in the long run. This will give decision-makers unique insight into which solutions provide the most benefits and which products jeopardize efficiency.

    Getting the big picture

    Computerworld said future communication platforms will need to be secure, centralized and highly scalable. This will likely give rise to the ongoing adoption of cloud VoIP systems, which are flexible, protected and available to employees virtually anywhere at any time on any device.

    By planning ahead and analyzing the overall collaborative landscape, executives can determine what tools work best for their organization. In doing so, executives can optimize operations and boost overall communications through the use of innovative, multi-functional technologies. This will give small companies and large enterprises a competitive advantage over rival firms still heavily reliant on antiquated solutions that are not as efficient as some of the more advanced products on the market.