This year was another one dominated by enterprise solutions aimed at increasing workforce collaboration and productivity. Emerging and legacy companies are trying to meet the overwhelming demand from every business out there that’s looking for the best way to get their teams working better, together. Technology companies have made a lot of promises over the years as they aim to solve workplace challenges from email overload to mobility.
In 2015, I expect to see a shift from enterprises investing in technologies that just end up giving workers another “thing to check” to those that truly drive productivity by putting the right information into the right hands at the right time. We all know there’s only so much room for more superfluous solutions in the minds of workers.
So what’s next? Below I cover a few of the trends and technology assets I see adding value to the enterprise in 2015.
- Demand for real-time messaging will trump formality in workplace communications : Getting a job done in a timely fashion is how an organization gains and maintains its competitive advantage. As such, organizations will start valuing instant, critical messaging over the formality found in emails of years past. Being mindful of spelling will never go out of style in the workplace but – via mobile communications solutions – many frivolous formalities will start to die off in the year ahead.
- Business intelligence around employee actions will be met positively by employers and employees alike: BI platforms have been an asset for everything from resource allocation and performance optimization for decades, however, analytics on an individual employee’s contributions to work getting done has been elusive as various platforms weren’t built to be that granular or cross-platform. In 2015, I expect that “people analytics” will extend to enterprise communications and become the norm as accountability is baked into popular solutions in a way that’s less creepy than email’s read receipts of yore.
- Lightweight solutions will be validated for quickly adding more value to the enterprise: In 2015, I expect to see the pace of IT deployments aim to keep pace with the speed at which mobile workers execute. To do so, integrations must not be hefty, but rather lightweight and easy to deploy. That’s the beauty of cloud-based solutions. The era of having “integration consultants” is cumbersome, costly and annoying and may just be coming to an end.
- IT buyers will demand intuitive UIs from mobile solutions: In 2015, I expect to see employees, especially highly-mobile ones, influence the solutions that their management decides to invest in. Those solutions will be sticky due to their simplicity – the opposite of cumbersome and complicated tools. They will tend towards solutions that help them do their jobs and that make their work more enjoyable. To that end, those vendors that offer intuitive, simple UIs will prevail.
- Fewer solutions offered to employees will become the norm: In years past, many organizations offered a myriad of solutions to employees in hopes that it would attract younger talent and boost retention if their preferred solution was offered. What that’s actually created in many organizations is a solutions hairball and a multitude of shadow workflows for modern employees. In 2015, fewer solutions will be offered from the top down and they’ll be ones that employees have informed the decisions on (see #2).
- Workers will have a work messaging inbox and a personal messaging inbox: Gone are the days of intermingling work communication with personal communication. As mobile is increasingly ubiquitous in the workplace, workers, executives and IT leaders will seek out systems to control and manage workplace messaging so that it is separate and distinct from personal messaging – much the way email exists today.
- Chat-based enterprise social networking and messaging in the workplace will be seen as different value propositions : With Facebook separating its core app from its messaging app while stating that messaging is the only action taken more often than socializing online, it’s becoming abundantly clear that the two have different value propositions. The wave of enterprise social networks doesn’t look to be dying in the next year, but a distinct value on separate messaging capabilities will be prioritized in enterprises where being action-oriented is important. More solutions that employees need to “go back and check” will not be the solution of choice in 2015.
- Employee satisfaction and morale will be found in expected technology solutions: In 2015, more enterprises will seek out, and find, solutions that allow for employees to collaborate, help each other, and share valuable insights with one another easily and effortlessly. A quick validation of a job well done will be easy via these new solutions versus holding back a “shout out” for fear of sending a superfluous email. These communications will bolster morale and employee satisfaction as they’ll give and receive commendations for jobs well done.
- Remote workforces will no longer feel remote : As the population of remote workforces continue to grow in 2015, managers will seek out communication solutions that are more effective than email. The solution is simple – channel and message alignment. Emails, quick messaging between individuals and even groups and instant group calls will coalesce fragmented workers, making them feel like they are in the office every day with their colleagues.
- IT training will become an activity of the past: Spending hours, days or even weeks training employees on a new solution will no longer be tolerated as workforces generally become more adept at using tech assets to get their jobs done. This speaks to the new value seen in lightweight, easy to deploy solutions with familiar, user-friendly UIs. Give employees technology solutions they recognize and deliver value and watch the usage rise.