There has been tremendous advancement in the communications ecosystems in recent years. Mobile penetration is well over 90 percent in the U.S. and mobile is now the preferred communications medium. But surprisingly, 85 percent of enterprises have not adopted a mobile enterprise strategy (Webtorials October, 2015).
Unified communications (UC) has delivered on some of the promise of unifying traditional voice communications with video, messaging and (to some extent) contact center. However, most of the UC solutions in the market primarily target the knowledge worker, leaving the service worker underserved.
In addition, with our appetite for detailed contextual information, business applications like CRM and field service management has evolved and advanced into the mobile space. Over 50 mobile application companies are currently competing in the field service management space and Gartner has assessed that only 25 percent of field service companies have adopted field service management tools. This points to future advancement in tools and technology for the service worker and the field service management market looks ripe for growth.
But with all this advancement in communications, the scope still has been siloed and the number of communications mediums in the enterprise is growing: business phone systems, business collaboration messaging systems, messaging inboxes, email and business application-based collaboration. As a result, the business user continues to traverse, coordinate, correlate and translate between these independent tools. These difficulties prevent companies from getting the full benefit of the communications media needed to deliver on the vision of seamless communications and collaboration.
So let’s look at some of the elemental problems with enterprise communications today.
Native voice, email and mobile messaging are rarely delivered with complete context
These broadly-used communications media have roots in the consumer market. But now, they’re also becoming mainstream in mobile business communications. Unfortunately, they’re delivered in every instance without context and with limited ability for context to be easily captured and stored within business applications.
Business applications and mobile business applications themselves create multiple channels of context
Business applications, like field service management applications and customer relationship management applications, have evolved tremendously to deliver an improved depth of understanding and context. While the value of each of these applications is undeniable and each stands on its own merit, they each represent another individual domain of information to navigate and manage. Occasionally, some applications have embedded communications within their mobile applications. While this is a step in delivering contextual communications, these advancements have been made primarily within each separate application, independent of other communication forms.
Workstream collaboration applications deliver partially on the vision
With the goal of solving the aggregation of business communications activity, a growing number of workstream collaboration application options have emerged in the market. While these applications succeed in aggregating communications into a channelized workflow, this aggregation comes at a cost. They do not replicate all the capabilities of other applications, and intentionally remove selected capabilities. Users of these workstream collaboration applications often resort to using the native applications outside the workstream channel, leaving the employee in a quandary as to where and what applications or channels to use for which types of communications.
As applications multiply, they amplify the problem
The number of new mobile business process applications is expanding and only going to grow with the increased specialization and entrepreneurial spirit within the mobile applications SaaS provider space. With real-time communications capabilities, more of these applications will support communications-enabled functionality. Each delivers yet another channel of communications to monitor and to manage. The average employee will have to monitor and track email, mobile messaging, social media channels, CRM, business apps, etc. The growth and fragmentation of business communication channels results in imprecise communications, less connected context and ultimately the loss of business productivity and customer focus.