Learnings from 2022 and trends in 2023- Sameer Raje, General Manager and Head, India & SAARC Region, Zoom Video Communications
Looking behind at 2022
- The ‘work from anywhere’ movement – Companies were no longer simply defining their work culture as a hybrid workplace in the sense of working from home or from an office building. Instead, they’re looking at things as helping employees work from anywhere. As such, companies need communications software that helps their employees communicate even from remote locations.
- Economic and environmental sustainability of remote work – Employees and companies alike were dealing with environmental factors such as infrastructure issues and pollution. Traffic and availability of property is causing governments to ask companies to adhere to a work-from-home policy. With the economy also hurting from various micro and macroeconomic factors, companies were looking at cost rationalisation, which would include a reduction in travel expenses as well as perks offered to employees.
- Innovative use cases for collaboration platforms – Companies were also looking for ways to collaborate with employees working from remote locations. If a product installation must be done in remote locations, then the concerned employees can still collaborate with their colleagues from disparate workplaces and still get the job done without a hitch. It also provides an overview to management sitting at the headquarters about how the task is being done and what the employees need to work in a safe and efficient manner. Communication software is also useful in helping chief executives of companies to keep an eye on the factory floor using drones and figure out how to optimise the processes. Collaboration tools have been becoming more and more important in the workplace, especially when the use cases for different companies are unique.
Top Predictions for 2023
- The business value – Collaboration solutions serve as an establishment for empowering today’s digital workforce to be more productive wherever they are while adding immense value to businesses of all sizes. Regardless of physical location, these tools help teams maintain human connections, which speeds up decision making and improves the ability to collaborate globally. Whether your team works from home, in-office, or in the field, implementing aspects of virtual collaboration provides a unique opportunity to cut costs, save time, and still bring workers face-to-face. From collaborating across departments and locations, engaging remote workers, managing suppliers to interviewing job candidates, it is efficient, cost-effective and scalable. With even legacy companies these collaboration tools are becoming game changers. In remote locations when service providers or servicing agents have challenges in solving an issue, these collaborative tools come in handy for troubleshooting and real time solutions can be achieved.
- Continued preference for hybrid – Even with internal and external communications, meetings and events go-to options for many companies remain virtual or hybrid webinars. Events hosted by companies are almost shifting to an online format. For instance, sales kickoffs are now taking place online instead of bringing the audience to one location. This is a cost-effective approach and can involve a greater number of participants in the events. Similarly, investor calls and symposiums will take place more and more on online platforms rather than in physical locations.
- Collaboration solutions as the catalyst for India’s growing small and media enterprises (SMEs) – With the Indian government actively exploring the digital path, more and more SMEs have been seeing steady growth. The government is likely to invest more on the digital roadmap to keep the economy moving upwards. SMEs will need to use collaborative tools as they expand their operations and their customer base. Even amid an economic downturn, collaboration platforms can help SMEs keep in touch and work with employees and clients to keep their business going while reducing costs.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) in sales – Most mundane tasks in sales are now being moved to AI tools. Today, most B2B companies are looking at online interactions as vital for their sales. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the AI market in India is projected to grow at a CAGR of 20.2 per cent to reach $ 7.8 billion by 2025 from $ 3.1 billion in 2020. Several AI-enabled applications help sales reps become more productive and improve the bottom line. Companies see impressive results with interactive training, virtual assistants, and the use of Voice of the Customer programs that gather customer feedback. They then use customer feedback (gathered through a variety of formats) to help identify problem areas or exceptional performance behaviours for automated coaching.
- Transforming customer experience – Collaboration tools can also help elevate the customer experience. For instance, self-driving cars are likely to develop rapidly in the next couple of years. Installing collaboration solutions in such cars would help employees attend meetings while they’re commuting and join through video when the car is stationary. This would help them save time and utilise the commute in a more efficient manner. Kiosks with similar collaborative tools can also be established at charging stations for electric vehicles, where customers can use the time they spend charging their vehicle to conduct important business.
- Two-way interactions with employees – More often than not, employees don’t get to share their day-to-day activities with managers. The task is handed over and the manager is not even usually on location. It’s very unlikely that managers are aware of the pitfalls surrounding the tasks employees are performing, which in turn means they’re not able to provide effective solutions to improve efficiency. With the touch of a button, collaboration solutions simplify the processes in industries such as manufacturing and healthcare and improve inclusivity by helping their workers collaborate and stay connected across geographies and functions. They enable workers to tap into the collective knowledge of the enterprise, solve problems with experts remotely and also show practical applications of their ideas to increase productivity through two-way interactions.