Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, trends related to work-from-home, the gig economy, and an increasingly distributed workforce were reshaping how and where we work. The pandemic put all these trends into hyperdrive. Almost instantly, enterprises around the world had to enable their entire workforces for remote work and accelerate their cloud journeys to enable, support and secure their new distributed workforces.
CIOs and CTOs, often overwhelmed by a myriad of platforms, ecosystems and application challenges, struggled to ensure every employee was able to connect and collaborate using their personal devices – without compromising security, governance and compliance requirements. Meanwhile, users grew frustrated and fatigued with the applications and channels they needed to use to connect with their teams, customers and partners, forcing IT to look for new technologies and workflows that could significantly improve the employee experience.
Many forward-looking companies have discovered that new secure workstream collaboration (WSC) solutions can be deployed into their existing multi-vendor, multi-cloud, multi-modal environments to bring together better tools employees need to improve engagement and collaboration no matter where they are located. In 2021, WSC will become a foundational platform that reshapes the future of work long after the pandemic subsides.
What is workstream collaboration?
In the past, organizations pursuing a Unified Communications (UC) environment struggled to integrate disparate products, leading to multiple logins, different user interfaces, and little if any flow of information among the various tools. This led to user frustration, less than optimal productivity, and the increased reliance on shadow IT – both inside and outside the office.
Today, secure and compliant workstream collaboration solutions like Avaya Spaces™ integrate multiple capabilities, including voice, video, messaging, chat and task management, enabling the context of conversations to persist across public or private channels and over time, even when moving from one device to another. Teams can easily and rapidly set up secure meeting spaces for information sharing and collaboration that can be limited to only named and authenticated participants. With WSC, individuals or teams can interact more transparently with their internal and external constituents by connecting over the channels that the constituents prefer, and automated, real-time actionable alerts and notifications across devices ensure that teams keep to their deadlines. By capturing and retaining all valuable information, WSC solutions help businesses provide deeper levels of insight to the right person at the right moment in the decision-making process.
Workstream collaboration tools like Avaya Spaces are also built on Avaya OneCloud™ CPaaS (communications platform as a service), to create a comprehensive and unified communications environment to automate even more processes and increase productivity. Further, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered WSC solutions can improve video meetings and conferences by removing background noise and creating live transcriptions that recognize and differentiate voices – enabling businesses to create and retain an accurate record of every important conversation.
The world that workstream collaboration will enable
With WSC, a PBX quickly becomes obsolete, and employees no longer have to call multiple phone lines and send text messages and emails, hoping to connect with their peers. WSC solutions incorporate an employee’s mobile phone into a completely digital workplace, and a single phone number or ID can be used to reach an employee no matter what device or channel is being used at either end. Infused with AI and automation, people can easily see each employee’s availability and more easily respond to a rapidly changing situation or crisis.
The digital workplace makes it far easier to adapt to changing conditions. In this new work nucleus, the cloud is used for apps and information storage. As a result, information is accessible to employees from anywhere at any time and work can be done 24/7 by teams around the globe.
With physical barriers now irrelevant, businesses can build their employee base using the best people from anywhere in the world. This means organizations now have a limitless talent pool at their disposal, including gig economy workers, new grads, and wily veterans, all able to effortlessly engage and contribute. Workstream collaboration solutions also make it easy to form and reform cross-departmental and even transnational teams without having to worry about business silos, allowing the most appropriate employees for every task or project to quickly share expertise and bring deliverables to completion. For instance, a business may need to form a new global joint sales and marketing team to develop a rebranding initiative, and then rapidly reconfigure that team to support the actual rebranding launch. WSC also makes coordination with business partners easier through secure automated processes that enable more effective information sharing and collaboration across organizations.
In 2021, Workstream Collaboration solutions will continue to mature, providing more communications features, greater channel flexibility, more precise control over interactions, and greater levels of security. By the end of 2022, 70% of teams will rely on workstream collaboration as the primary means of communicating, coordinating and sharing information between team members. By 2023, 75% of organizations using WSC will extend it to all employees across the organization, up from 45% in 2019. Businesses that want to empower their teams for the future of work and ensure every employee can be productive no matter where they are located should immediately begin exploring the power of workstream collaboration solutions.