Trend 4: Advanced Communications
Entwined with the previous two trends is a growing interest in multiple communications mechanisms, including unified communications, collaboration and virtual meetings.
At Volkswagen Group of America, based in Herndon, Va., “There was a functionality gap that our existing suite of collaboration tools didn’t [handle],” says William Graca, manager of strategy implementation in the IT organization. “[VGOA] had rogue applications that people had been using to fill that gap. We did not have chat, we did not have presence and we did not have a portable way to do conferencing.”
To solve this problem, VGOA deployed Microsoft Lync, a UC solution, to bind together e-mail, chat, audio, video and collaboration for both office-bound and mobile employees.
What’s the benefit? “Partly it’s a productivity push,” says Graca. “It’s starting to bring together people from our 50 locations across the United States in unique ways and enable them to collaborate without having to go to the same physical location.”
This benefit includes saving on travel costs and better control. “We’ve reduced the complexity of our environment by giving people one tool to get those [communications] needs filled,” says Graca. Lync ties in with the various collaboration schemes used at VGOA, so users remain productive and communicative, whether mobile or in the office.
For more, read Baseline's Top 10 Business Trends of 2012.