The way we work is changing and the way we interact with our customers is changing. Some time ago, IT experts predicted that 2016 would be the year of mobility, integration of communication and user experience. New trends keep emerging and among them, especially in the sphere of incorporating the IT into every aspect of how we run our businesses.
One of the big business communication trends for 2016 is the addition of connected devices to the communications landscape via the Internet-of-Things which represent the infrastructure of the information society. These connected devices are starting to transmit real-time business data that employees use throughout the course of the work day and as systems develop, there will not only be one-way communications with machines, but more interactive business communications that involve these devices. A recent ABI researchestimates that more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the internet of things by 2020.
Businesses are beginning to understand that if they want to truly enable their business processes, they need to do some of the work themselves. The responsibilities of IT are shifting and new things are on the way in the area of communications, enabling business processes through the use of innovations such as Application Program Interface (APIs) and Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC).
Application programming interfaces (APIs) are the first step in creating bridges between a business’s own applications and third-party software programs. Just as more websites and apps are popping up every day, so is the use of APIs, as they are the backbone of digital experiences, and more companies are using them. For example, Sears uses APIs to enable developers to create apps that facilitate product searches and identify store locations. The use of APIs is important for businesses because they allow programmers to build tools that help people do their jobs more effectively, and that will always be a trend.
Companies that don’t have the expertise to build bridges between web presence and communications infrastructure (or simply don’t want to do it themselves) can utilize communications platform as a service. Companies that offer this service are intended to do the heavy lifting so that web developers don’t have to know a lot about communications in order to enable it through websites and web apps. The possibilities WebRTC offers are endless, and many are looking forward to seeing how industries utilize this technology in the future.
While call analytics is certainly not new, the availability and ease of access to data are what continues to improve for companies of all sizes. And it is the real-time or near real-time access to data and the way in which companies can immediately use that information to improve processes “in the moment” that will play an increasingly important role in business-critical decisions going forward. The availability of data becomes less important if you aren’t able to easily extract it, interpret it, and utilize it for decision-making. For example, drive-time analytics allow trucking companies to predict traffic patterns and adjust their routes accordingly.
Even though new trends, such as messaging apps, are on the rise, there are things that don’t seem likely to change. For example, using email as a basic form of business communication. That is because email, unlike messaging apps, has structure. There are subject lines, the ability to reply to one or many, the ability to categorize, create folders, and so on. The basic structure is, for the most part, consistent between email providers. Furthermore, a Gmail user can email an Exchange user and so on. Messaging apps are fun to use socially, but they offer poor data organization, so it is not likely we will replace our email or messengers anytime soon.
A shift in the way we work can significantly influence the development our business. Communication trends are developing with an upswing in remote workforces, data analysis, and APIs. WebRTC is predicted to gain traction as more companies see the potential of their digital experiences, and the role of IT will shift into presenting new daily tasks.
Understanding and embracing these business communications developments are vital to the success of your business. The questions to ask ourselves when thinking about our business is: Are we truly managing to follow? As the frantic marathon goes on, more and more questions arise when we finally realize that we’ve been running for miles and the finish line hasn’t appeared in the distance yet.