We have seen an explosion in communications devices and platforms in recent times, which has driven what is arguably the single largest behavioural shift we have seen or are likely to see in our working lives.
We are doing more with more, not more with less, cloud and mobility have insidiously crept in to every aspect of our lives, work has overflowed into our personal lives like never before. Is it a good thing ? Has it added value to our lives, and more importantly, has it driven up productivity?
The first thing to do is dispel the productivity/mobility myth. Mobility does not drive productivity. Productivity is behavioural, mobility is a technical platform.
Mobility can certainly enable productivity in so many different ways, but the desire and motivation needs to be there in the first place. What is happening in the new converged communications market is that the cost to communicate is dropping and ability to communicate increasing.
If we look back over time we will see that when this happens it leads to a significant increase in the quantity of communication. Email today is probably the single largest barrier to productivity we have.
In most large businesses people will receive between 120 and 200 emails per day. The volume of information is high and relevance is low. We need to look into the open market to see how these trends will play out.
Google has changed the face of advertising industry for ever and LinkedIn is the process of revolutionising the recruitment market. They provide a superior offering at a fraction of the cost of the traditional market, they do more for less.
They provide information to the user that is highly relevant. Facebook has provided a social service but remains in the doldrums as it tries to figure out which market it is going to revolutionise.
Facebook’s woes are compounded by the fact that 65% of its users access it from mobile devices, and the reduced real estate on these platforms is shrinking its already woeful advertising revenue.
This shows that for a new technology to succeed and offer value within our business it must offer two things; a superior delivery platform and allow us to complete a task in less time than it would normally take, it needs to do more at a lower cost.
The shifts in the communications market now mean we can communicate in more ways and at lower costs than ever before. The shifts from fixed line to mobile, to data and back to terrestrial cables and WiFi and back to soft phones on mobile devices are on-going.
The above trends show that these shifts will firstly be predominantly mobile, but secondly, will magnify the behavior that is in place already. So, the technology will initially magnify the behavior that is already in place, not alter it.
Productive people can be more productive if they choose, but Social media or unfettered communication means unproductive people can now be unproductive is so many more creative ways than they could in the past.
Technology will facilitate this and history shows we should expect a massive upsurge in the quantity of the communication, and a corresponding drop in productivity.
The good news is that we know what the recipe for success is, we need to increase the relevance of the communication and decrease the quantity. These are the two productivity and quality drivers. We are at capacity in our working lives, so any solution we deploy cannot be an “and” solution, it must be an “or” solution.
To revolutionise our business it must be a superior communication platform that lowers the cost of communication, and it must also allow us to complete a task in less time than it currently takes. To be truly successful it must give us some hours in the day back.
When setting an enterprise communications strategy the path we choose must therefore not only allow us to deploy at a lower cost, it must allow us to increase the relevance of the information we receive.
It should drive up productivity, as that is what was in the brochure, but now we have the tools to measure this we can really see where the behavioural shifts are and where the value is to be had.
We live in the digital age and everything is measurable, the tools allow us to track in-bound and outbound calls, data and messages. If we use the communication patterns to build up business directories of numbers dialed and messages sent we can track who we contact, on which platform and we can look at duration and volume patterns.
These patterns will lead to insights around product quality and positioning, customer support and service levels, effective marketing and sales campaigns and customer intimacy insights.
On average 26% of all outbound fixed line calls are personal, Twenty percent of e-mails are personal but this 20% accounts for 80% of bandwidth usage. The information can be used as a club, but to be fair work has invaded our personal lives to such an extent that this information, taken out of context, will not help in the long run.
More value can be had in using it as a carrot to incentivise the right behaviour and liberate the work force.
We can see what digital footprint a productive person has, and can use this to drive the business as a whole to a more liberated, mobile, flexible and productive working environment where the employer is more certain than ever that they are getting value from their employee and the employees have more flexibility and trust than ever before.
Very much like the penguin flock in the cold arctic breeze, these insights allow the whole flock to shuffle to a warmer place collectively. We don’t need to know explicitly what they are doing; we just need to know that at the end of the day they are leaving a productive digital footprint behind them.
Trust is the final frontier to leveraging the value in the mobile digital era, and these tools provide the reassurance and insight needed to give this trust.