How a Total Communications Strategy Can Simplify Mobility

Chuck Pol, President, Vodafone Americas
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Chuck Pol, President, Vodafone Americas

Today, enterprise communications means much more than monitoring and maintaining back-office systems. An excess of mobile communications technologies – including laptops, smartphones, tablets, cloud computing, and, to some extent, wearables – has entered the workplace and continues to pose challenges to IT.

“By streamlining mobility into on total communications strategy, business can integrate fixed and mobile communications into a single, intelligent, complementary service”

As more mobile technologies continue to emerge, the web of providers supplying them becomes just as vast. Forward-looking CIOs are recognizing that communications technology is becoming more strategic to the business, and see the potential competitive advantage of consolidating its elements into one place. A total communications approach can help simplify mobility and more, and also opens the door to adding innovative new technologies.

Demand Beyond IT

Today, young professionals are shaking up a decades-old approach to IT as they enter the workforce with a solid knowledge of technology, and expect the same experience they are used to with consumer social and mobile platforms. In large part as a result of this trend, 90 percent of IT industry growth is expected to be driven by mobility, cloud, big data, and social technologies from 2013 to 2020.

However, not all of this growth will be driven by the IT department itself, as everyone from marketing to HR now have the know-how to demand the technology they need most. In the past, IT departments were the ones to screen those potential suppliers. Today, the IT team is still responsible for managing and securing the company’s communications framework; but it isn’t just the IT team making the buying decisions. Gartner estimates that this year, 40 percent of the IT budget will be controlled outside of the IT department, with the figure likely to rise to 90 percent in 2020.

This shift complicates an enterprise’s ability to see its full communications strategy, and is leading to growth of shadow IT, solutions used without organization approval, causing one big headache for the CIO and CFO. CIOs are is less able to gain real insights into critical resources such as the network, which could ultimately lead to missed business opportunities. And, the CFO can’t easily monitor usage and expenditure to see precisely where savings can be made, impacting planning, and budgeting.

Fragmentation is no longer inevitable

Every time a new office or store opens or a new market foothold is gained, additional suppliers, contracts, and bills are often negotiated – and with businesses increasingly looking to scale-up in emerging economies, this can mean navigating unknown regulations, languages, and cultures.

While a fragmented mobility strategy is far from ideal, it was an inevitability of international expansion for many multinational organizations. Eager to get the best wireless service, businesses sought out the best-in-country mobile suppliers.

However, businesses now have the advantage of working with total communications service providers whose networks have the global reach and in-country depth to support total supplier and network consolidation, beyond simply mobility. This provides not only cost savings, but greater control, and visibility of the entire communications strategy. If a business wants to keep expanding into new markets, but needs to keep the cost of its network and communications technology spend down, it can establish one single Wide Area Network across all of the countries it operates in. By doing this the business can consolidate the management of its network, providing greater visibility of cost for the CIO and CFO. This also enables the business to establish a standardized operating model to support a faster, more efficient deployment of vital business applications.

By streamlining mobility into on total communications strategy, a business that wants to meet employee demand for flexibility and collaboration can integrate fixed and mobile communications into a single, intelligent, and completely complementary service. This ensures calls and messages can always be routed to reach employees and it enables teams to use a range of collaborative tools such as instant messenger, video conferencing, and enterprise social media apps on any device, through the same unified application. This might explain why integrating fixed and mobile is now one of the three biggest priorities for 69 percent of IT decision makers.

By bringing all communications together, a business can simplify mobility by making it a seamless part of its global IT infrastructure. With this advantage, the business can look to improve internal processes, or create new products and services, or deploy innovative technologies such as Machine-to- Machine (M2M) technology.

Seamlessly connecting people

Businesses will never fully be able to predict which mobile technology will become the next office must-have. However, when that time comes, they can ensure that it will all work quickly and seamlessly by adopting a total communications strategy. By consolidating suppliers and embracing unified communications, organizations with control to drive efficiencies, the infrastructure to support growth and the technology to help their people find new and smarter ways of working in this constantly evolving world.

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