As a global leader inbusiness communications systems, Avaya takes its position seriously. That’s why at the beginning of the year, it gets its best thinkers together to make predictions about communications technology trends, service innovations and broad market drivers.
Now that we’re into 2013, Avaya decided to take stock and see which predictions have been on target and which have missed the mark. You can see the full report at http://www.avaya.com/usa/resource/assets/whitepapers/12CommunicationTrendsfor2012Update.pdf
Here’s a synopsis:
#1: Mobility raises the expectation of availability. There is no question about the accuracy of this prediction—but it probably didn’t go far enough. Mobility is no longer just about availability. In its mid-year update, Avaya notes that employees now expect the same features and functionality in mobile devices as they have in their office.
#2: Contact centers test the value of voice. This is true, but it’s turning out to be a bit more complicated. In its update, Avaya points out that in today’s customer service world, it’s not about pitting one mode (voice, e-mail, text, etc.) against another, but “offering the right channel at the right time.” This requires proactively determining what kind of experience the user wants. “Once you identify the preferred channels, you can focus energy and resources on making them — and the customer experience — great.”
#3Contextual data spans the last mile of personal productivity. Contextual data is information about the communications, not the communications itself. Having contextual data easily accessible, for example, lets you retrieve a dial-in number and passcode after being dropped from a conference call. Or lets you instantly see a list of participants with information about how you’ve interacted with them and the documents and other resources relevant to the interaction. Getting contextual data is happening, but perhaps not as fast as expected. “At this point, contextual capabilities remain in their infancy,” Avaya notes, “with promising prototypes surfacing in the marketplace.”
#4: Businesses advance from social media to social business. Despite Facebook’s troubled stock market debut, social media is still hot. In the update, Avaya points out that companies increasingly use social media not only as a listening post but as a springboard to action. Establishing a command center for monitoring and responding to social media is becoming commonplace.
#5: Social media and customer care enter into an arranged marriage. Not only that, but the marriage seems happy all around. Avaya notes that as organizations get their arms around social media/customer care alignment, it helps them put real legs on their social media strategy.
#6: The SIP bar is raised again. Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is the foundation for streamlining enterprise networks and extending advanced communications to small and medium-size businesses. As more SIP-enabled applications become available, Avaya sees more organizations abandoning a cautious, stepwise approach to deploying SIP.
#7: Social interactions expose customer care’s flaws. There is no hiding in the world of social media. Avaya notes that companies are getting used to its rough and tumble dynamics and responding by creating a culture of openness that encourages employees to engage.
#8: IT support staffs converge, part 2. This prediction will never be NOT true. But Avaya notes that while the movement to bring voice and data staffs together continues unabated, challenges keep arising (e.g., how to deploy unified communications.) Facing these challenges, IT continues to proceed cautiously “perhaps too much so in the eyes of some users,” notes Avaya.
#9: Continuous connectivity drives communications support services. Raw connectivity is critical to support services, allowing vendor support teams to “swarm” a customer problem using real-time by video and other tools. In its mid-year update, Avaya notes that some companies are also migrating to other approaches, such as managed services, total outsourcing or software as a service (SaaS).
#10: Clients take control of managed services. IT departments are becoming more discriminating in the managed services they purchase and asking tougher questions, such as “Are our IT operating costs predictable? Do we have the IT staff we need? Do we have the budget to invest in the infrastructure to meet organization expectations?” Answering “no” to any of these questions can make a company a prime candidate for managed services.
#11: UC managed services/outsourcing facilitates alignment between IT and business units. Yes IT and business units keep cozying up. More and more, they are conducting unbiased analyses to determine whether creating a solution internally or turning to a service provider offers better value.
#12: “True” UC apps proliferate. Expectations for UC continue to grow, especially as BYOD enables true UC applications on smartphones, tablets and other devices. But barriers remain, as conflicting technologies and approaches limit usability and adoption. At midyear, Avaya is counseling companies to “discount the hype and do the homework.”