Presence In The Enterprise: Keeping Flexible Working Productive

Keeping Flexible Working Productive

Whether you are sending an email on the train as you make your way to the office or firing off that last email before boarding a plane to go on holiday, being part of the “modern” workforce means you rarely switch off. Rather than this being a negative you appreciate just how much flexibility this gives you and revel in turning previously unproductive time on its head.

As a result of advances in mobile technology, coupled with enterprises increasingly recognising the benefits of flexible working, employees want to communicate at any time, from anywhere and on any device. And this demand is set to increase. According to a recent report from Gartner, 70% of professionals will conduct their work on personal smart devices by 2018.

For modern enterprises, the path to “anytime, anywhere, any device” working involves more devices and options for end-users, but will also come down to communicating and collaborating with less complexity and costs. This means providing workers with a single application or set of applications that provides a consistent unified user-interface and user-experience that spans the exploding universe of mobile and desktop devices, apps and services – Unified Communications (UC).

Having a presence indicator is the first step to delivering on the benefits of UC – the more integrated the technology is across communications tools, the more enhanced the service is. Knowing if someone is reachable, and by what means they can be contacted, keeps employees productive.

Within a business environment presence allows people to instantly see who is available in the corporate network, enabling real-time decision making, precise communications, minimal inefficiency and improved organisational responsiveness. There are no wasted calls to see if someone is at their desk or time spent waiting for a response from someone who isn’t in a position to respond.

Presence is an essential part of achieving a continuing workflow, with Instant Messaging (IM) the most widely used application of presence technology. According to IDC, remote employees “often feel that IM gives their workdays the kind of ‘flow’ that they feel when sitting directly among their colleagues, being able to ask questions of them, and getting the kind of quick responses that allow them to drive on to the next task”.

By 2017, half of employers may impose a mandatory BYOD policy, according to latest research from Gartner. People are not technology-agnostic, and this extends to the tools they are using, increasing demand for IM and presence within the workplace. Employees want to send and receive instant messages, and have the ability to monitor and set presence from any device, whether desktop, smartphone or tablet.

With many different communications devices on the corporate network, enabling presence across all of these means enterprises need a unified platform and, wherever possible, one that is integrated with enterprise applications. Integration with existing workflows and tools is key to achieving the productivity gains enterprises expect as more and more employees choose different devices (and their own personal devices) for work purposes.

In the UK, the availability of LTE networks will guarantee an enterprise-grade experience delivered on a faster, more reliable, network. Thanks to this improved service, mobile network operators will be in a better position to offer an aggregated service that combines IM, presence, telephony and SMS. By integrating these services, and taking advantage of cloud solutions, enterprises can increase value but lower implementation costs – thus increasing profits through investment in their IT and telecommunications systems.

Presence information has a vital role to play for enterprises looking to embrace the BYOD and flexible working trends. In an age where the workforce is constantly on-the-go, the ability to be able to communicate presence information about employees can greatly improve communication and productivity, providing businesses with a tangible competitive advantage in a highly competitive world.

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Leslie Ferry

Leslie Ferry brings over 20 years of experience in the telecommunications, Internet and recruitment industries to her role as BroadSoft's vice president of marketing. Her brand management and product marketing expertise have helped boost the profiles of numerous technology companies. Before coming to BroadSoft, Leslie was vice president of marketing at online recruiting companies SnagAJob and JobFox. As director/vice president of marketing at domain name registration company, Network Solutions, she helped revamp the company's brand and position it as a respected leader of Web services. Leslie helped to build one of the best-known Internet brands as director of marketing for online jobs site CareerBuilder.com. Before moving to companies with Web-based products, she spent eight years at MCI, where she held revenue and branding responsibilities.