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Enabling a “work everywhere” environment

Frederic Gillant, vice president and managing director, ShoreTel Asia Pacific | Oct. 29, 2014
Here are some tips on building a robust, efficient and effective framework for remote working By Frederic Gillant, vice president and managing director, ShoreTel Asia Pacific

Recently released, Gartner's Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends report highlights the IT trends that will have the biggest strategic impact on organizations in 2015 and beyond. There are two from the Gartner Top 10 that I believe are most pressing - Computing Everywhere and Cloud/Client Computing. The first predicts how the enterprise environment will adapt to the requirements of mobile users, while the second forecasts that cloud computing will lead to highly scalable applications.

These two predictions create a scenario where CIOs and IT leaders will be challenged to deliver a consistent user experience for their remote workers regardless of what device they use.

This is where business communications plays a significant role in enabling workforce productivity. Imagine this: Instead of premises-based phone systems, cloud-based communications can make remote work seamless. People working from home, hotels, or even the beach can make, take and manage a call just like they were sitting at their desk.

IDC has predicted that the worldwide mobile worker population is exploding, and will impact more than 1-in-3 users (1.3 billion) by 2015. IT leadership needs to be able to support this demand of remote working and in the long term, enable business growth.

The nature of work is changing. For many, work is no longer a place, but an activity that is done from almost anywhere.  

In fact, for me, remote working is more productive compared to working in the office. Distractions are everywhere and never-ending in the office. Co-workers talk around you, the typing on the keyboard on the other side of the cubicle takes you out from "being in the zone" and that trip to the nearby restaurant can end up costing you 30 minutes because the queue is out the door.

Besides increasing productivity, remote work reduces real estate costs and provides benefits beyond the enterprise like reducing traffic and minimizing carbon emissions.

While there are many solutions that ensure a robust business communications framework, seamless communication between workers, regardless of where they are located, is a key element in building a successful mobile workforce.

Here, I would like to share my tips for CIOs and IT leaders who are looking for help to set up a remote working environment.

What you want versus what you need

Vendors offer a wide variety of call processing features including voice mail system, instant messaging and unified messaging. But make sure you understand what is an essential calling feature versus what is a "nice to have" for your business operations, and prioritize accordingly.

Maintain control

When comparing management features, consider whether all the features-call processing, contact center, monitoring and reporting-can be controlled by the administrator from one interface. The transparency of control could impact on the total cost of ownership.


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