Succeeding with Today's Digitally Enabled Workforce

By Tim Bell, Senior Vice President APAC Sales & Country Manager China & India, PGi

In today’s digitally connected world, the best results are achieved by teams that collaborate on a global scale. Com­panies are looking for different ways to empower their mobile knowledge workers. Social media, on-demand col­laboration tools, smart technologies, and IoT have made this possible.

In particular, cloud-based tools are one of the ways in which new technology is helping to level the field in both SMB and large enterprise segments. By relying on their cloud provider, companies are able to spend their time on busi­ness critical and strategic initiatives to further opportunities for business growth.

According to Frost and Sullivan, “The Asia- Pacific cloud computing services market is ex­pected to register a CAGR of 26.9 percent dur­ing 2014–2021 to reach $32.02 Billion at the end of 2021. “India and China represent the highest potential for cloud computing services and are also two of the fastest growing markets in the region.” It is even more exciting that In­dia is becoming the third largest ecosystem with 4,200 startups and some operate globally val­ued at several billion dollars according to the IT industry body NASSCOM. It would be an interesting space to watch out and see how these startups are making their move towards a wide array of collaboration technology.

Behind that growth lays the fact that collabo­ration is progressively important to businesses and technology increasingly matters to collabo­ration.

We ask ourselves, how can we stay competi­tive, are we connecting our mobile knowledge workers globally with the right tools? How do we strike a balance of flexible work­ing hours? Are we working smarter?

Mobility - We have an unstoppable mobile workforce. Mobility is ranked as a critical priority for most CIOs of APAC organizations. According to Gartner, improving employee pro­ductivity, business agility and cus­tomer experience are among the top reasons ASIA-PAC companies are supporting enterprise mobility. With our dispersed workforce and the need to ensure that they are mobile and connected, we have had such a tech­nology boom that our knowledge workers can now easily engage with internal and external stakeholders, customers and partners, anywhere, anytime, on any mobile devices. Im­agine how much easier it is to secure feedback on your business-critical projects or gain approval in your de­cision-making cycle?

Productivity - For PGi, one of the most exciting things is the ongoing efforts made into how we can drive better business collaboration, across all lines of business. What can we do from inside out to help business decision-makers understand the need to balance new technology demands with the sense of collaboration? Ac­cording to a recent Harvard Busi­ness Review article, too much divi­sion and distribution of labor mean less natural collaboration. These virtual knowledge workers seek a sense of community and richness of collaboration.

For example, being in the seat of SVP of Sales APAC, I also need to keep a close pulse on my team’s sales productivity. How do you resolve the issues of navigating various time zones, different cultures and inject visibility into pipeline and customer projects? With social media and an abundance of on-demand collabora­tion tools, we are able to equip our­selves with “smart office” technolo­gies to close the gaps. Therefore, we can make informed decisions, achieve our sales targets with greater speed and better support our customers.

Collaborative Culture: Rome was not built in one day. Same goes with fos­tering a collaboration culture within any organization. “Smart meeting” technologies (video, web, audio) have helped us to foster greater trust with both our direct leadership team and other cross-functional teams. For ex­ample, in some Asian cultures, hav­ing a video call seems to be slightly confronting, compared to other cultures whereby people prefer to have face to face connection so that we can make decisions faster. So we need to be adaptive. The Col­laboration Technol­ogy Personality Quiz is a great way to learn about the distinctive collaboration person­ality (Casual, Consci­entious, Purist, Pol­ished, and Progressive) of the people we work with.

We believe the formation of an effective collaboration culture should be encouraged by champions within the organization. You have to lead by example.

“Smart meeting” technologies allow us to engage with external stakeholders, customers and part­ners without added costs of trave­ling. Greater work-life balance is therefore attainable.

Customer Satisfaction - As a SaaS company ourselves, we know market share gains are driven by the ability to respond to fast changing market conditions. Many organizations are strengthening their technology and IT focus to drive revenues and suc­cess. In an era characterized by fast-evolving collaboration technology, it’s quite a big and complex task for any organization to truly embrace that “digital transformation” jour­ney. It’s becoming increasingly im­perative to partner with trusted vendors who have a strong focus on customer relationship and service. These days, purchasing decisions for any collaboration technology, in both SMB and large enterprises, are strongly influenced by product ma­turity, richness of functionality and service reliability. We see a lot of our customers across different industries reaping significant ROI when they have a successful implementation of the new technology.

Modern technology has made tremendous positive changes to the way businesses collaborate and deploying collaboration solutions as part of an organization’s UCC strategy has increasingly become many CIOs’ top priority. The jour­ney towards better collaboration is ever evolving and requires for­ward-thinking and adaptation. So embrace it!

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