Opinion: The collaborative workspace

Gary Denman, MD of Polycom ANZ writes about the changing nature of the workspace, and how UC can help connect and enable productivity.

In the technology industry, we’re always looking to the future – asking what will be the next big thing and what role will technology play? Right now we’re seeing an exciting trend emerging in communications technology that is allowing us to defy distance – and transform the relationship between the workplace and how people work.

The line between home and work is continuing to blur, and employee demands are changing at a rapid pace. Unified communications (UC) and video collaboration is playing a major role, transforming offices into smarter, more innovative work spaces.

The beauty of UC is that it brings all communication services under a single user experience, letting staff engage and work together in whichever way works best for them.

Whether you are looking at integrating a new UC strategy or future-proofing your existing one, there are a few things to think about. What type of unified communications solution is right for your organisation? How have trends like BYOD and mobility influenced your decision making process? Where does Microsoft Lync fit into the picture, and what does success look like? Over the coming weeks I will address these issues and more.

To kick off, let’s look at the growth of the collaborative workspace and what’s driving this transformation.

Getting more out of your bricks and mortar

When it comes to doing more with less, securing affordable office space is one of the largest investments companies make. It’s also one of the biggest challenges in growing economies as organisations need to accommodate expanding workforces in markets where premium office space is in short supply.

Work from anywhere, anytime employee

We are also seeing changes in the way we work – witness the rise of the mobile worker. Forward-thinking companies and employees are no longer restrained by office or country location.

These anytime, anywhere employees need technology that enables them to stay connected with colleagues, partners and customers while on the move.

Collaborative workplaces

Read more: House of Travel enjoys improved communication services

Workplace collaboration is now a blend of formal and informal processes, as groups of people connect, share, plan and action. These groups are cross-functional, and often cross-geographical.

By designing an office with remote collaboration technologies such as video conferencing and providing seamless access to smart work tools like digital whiteboards, a workplace becomes more connected, more collaborative, and more cost-effective.

So what’s the upshot? In the future, more flexible working patterns that allow both organisations and their external stakeholders to work smarter from anywhere will be the norm. Many companies are already starting to benefit from this new way of working by developing workplaces with technology solutions that enable instant communication and high definition remote collaboration in real time.

Next week’s article will discuss how to approach finding the right UC solution for your workplace.

Gary Denman took over as MD of Polycom A/NZ in April 2012. In this role, Gary is responsible for developing the long-term business growth and market strategy for the ANZ region.

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