Change is afoot on a big scale and fast. We see it around us, we feel it, we talk about it, we experience it. We even know its name — the Internet of Everything (IoE).
Briefly put, IoE is a new way of connecting people, processes, data, and things. Looking back, you can almost say that the Age of the Internet and of the Internet of Things have merely been preliminary stages designed to lead us where we are today: on a course that radically changes how we interact with the world around us. We have started on a new exciting journey. At every step we are uncovering new ways to create and share value, not just for the organizations we work for but in our personal lives as well.
Let’s take the world of business first. It’s changing dramatically as we speak. Here are a few leading transformational trends the effects of which I’m sure you have experienced yourselves in one way or another.
We Are More Interdependent
More and more expert surveys are finding that employees are working more collaboratively now than they were in the not very distant past. For instance, according to research from the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), two thirds of employees are doing more collaborative work today than they were just three years ago. Collaboration technology is a big part of making us increasingly effective in this environment, delivering benefits including those that help us become:
- More Productive: Nearly 50% of an employee’s impact on business unit profitability comes from network performance, according to CEB research. And by network I don’t mean how fast packets can get to a router, I mean networks of people and the ability to help and be helped by others.
- More Innovative: In a McKinsey survey, 30% of organizations queried report that web-based collaboration technologies increased the number of successful innovations for new products and services.
- More Connected: On average, employees collaborate with at least 10 individuals in their day-to-day work. Likewise, the majority of employees are active members of multiple, diverse teams or projects within their organizations. (Source: CEB)
- Closer to Customers: More than 65% of businesses today use at least six channels to better engage with their customers, per research from Aberdeen.
These findings validate that the future of productivity, innovation, and of success at work itself lies in collaboration. Or differently put, they point to a huge opportunity ahead of us.
We Want to Work From Anywhere
Another trend that has entrenched itself deeply into our work patterns is mobility, the practice of working from anywhere we are with other people, anywhere they are.
From the lens of traditional work environments organized around workers’ presence at the same location, the idea of mobility and interdependence seems contradictory. Work more interdependently but work from anywhere? How is that?
Let’s look around us. As new work ecosystems emerge around the world, technology has removed the contradiction from the equation. According to research from Cisco’s Connected World Technology report:
- 60% of employees believe they don’t need to be in the office to be productive and efficient.
- 44% of knowledge workers telecommute at least once a week.
You’d think that this is just about the employees’ ability to better balance personal life with work in the work-from-anywhere formula. But it’s about much more than personal productivity and preference. Consider the ability for organizations to remove geographic restrictions from hiring and or to bring together effective work teams, wherever individual employees are located.
- By IDC’s count, 71% of small businesses now function as work-from-anywhere businesses.
- In CEB research, 57% of respondents report an increase in the number of coworkers they collaborate with in other geographic locations.
Mobility and Cloud Making it Happen
What makes this whole shift possible? One significant piece of the equation = mobility + clouds. Mobile devices have been and continue to be strong drivers of the “work from anywhere” pattern:
- IDC anticipates that there will be 1.3 billion mobile workers around the globe by 2015, which is almost the entire population of China.
- 2/3 of employees use personal devices for work purposes
- 56% of U.S. adults now own a smartphone of some kind
- 34% of U.S. adults own a tablet computer, almost twice as many than owned a tablet a year ago
Of course, devices alone are just devices. But with the number of highly effective productivity applications growing significantly, devices take on an increasingly important role in our work and personal lives. Just two examples among them:
- Evernote tops the list of 10 best productivity apps for entrepreneurs. I use it on a regular basis.
- In less than five months since the launch of Vine, this generator of 6-second videos registered 2.86 million shares on Twitter, surpassing downloads of its photo-sharing sister app, Instagram.
The other piece of the equation – cloud. It radically changes how we access and consume applications and information. The largest majority of business leaders surveyed by Forbes Insight confirm the impact of cloud on their businesses as powerful:
- 94% of them say cloud-based collaboration enables flexible work environments
- 93% say cloud-based collaboration stimulates innovation
- 91% say that cloud based collaboration enables greater cooperation with customers
Closing the Gap
Combined these trends are presenting organizations across the board with significant challenges. In fact, they amount to a massive strategic gap for many of them. What to do? On any uncharted journey, your travel companions can make all the difference. So let’s talk about why you ought to travel into the future with us at your side.
Where does Cisco come in? We are uniquely positioned to help close this gap by providing innovative solutions that answer questions like:
- How can we make the technology that works so well at home work as effectively for us in the office?
- How do we architect our infrastructure to best leverage the benefits of cloud adoption?
- How do we harvest the massive amounts of data for better business processes and enhanced opportunities?
Our video and collaboration strategy plays a central role in creating these meaningful connections; it is focused on delivering solutions designed from the ground up to help you capture these market transitions and offer the best user experience.
Stay tuned for more on how we think we can make a difference for you. Meanwhile let me know your thoughts about collaboration and interdependency at this time of massive change.
For more information, visit Cisco Collaboration Solutions.