2012 is already well under way, and the world of enterprise communications is changing at a speed that might have seemed impossible a few years ago with smartphones and tablets, laptops and even personal cloud services. I think there are five key trends that are going to change to face of enterprise communications in 2012.
First the social imperative. What do I mean by this? Well, for the first time, enterprises have three different generations working together across the enterprise: the Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y, each with different user behaviours. Enterprises will have to start to reconcile these different habits into a single unified multimedia enterprise communication platform for email, instant messages, video and social networking.
Second, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). In order to meet the expectations of our mixed generation workforce in 2012, enterprises need to be able to deliver the same user experience regardless of which device is chosen. The consumerisation of the enterprise is an inevitability and enterprise networks need to be able to deal with any device, from smartphones to tablets.
Third, creating mashup applications. Business, customer service and unified communications applications are still siloed and often run independently from one another. Enterprises need to be able to manage these multiple applications through a single unified interface, ensuring that they interact with one another and providing the user with a consistent experience over any device.
Fourth, Convergence. Given the inevitable development of the first three, enterprises will have to start moving to a more converged architecture for both network and application deployment, to deliver any application over any network, and do so through any of the user's devices.
Fifth, Deployment, and the inevitable shift to cloud. The need to improve the overall user experience – based on any application on any network using any device – combined with the need for enterprises to shift to more cost effective costs models is moving enterprises towards the cloud-based Opex model as well as the Capex model for financing IT purchases. This will inevitably change the specification of their communications infrastructure. We as communication and network infrastructure providers have to be able to provide organisations with the technical and commercial support to deploy communication solutions in any model they want – on-site, hosted, outsourced, or any combination of these.