Comms Business Magazine (CBM): What are you seeing from customers as companies wrestle with Collaboration technologies right now?
Justin Hamilton-Martin, Director at Centile - Part of Enreach (JHM): "Companies new to the benefits of collaboration tools and UC held back because they were concerned it might impact productivity. COVID-19 has changed that around, because remote working technologies is the only realistic way to keep workers operational, and as many find, productivity can actually improve.
For instance, pre-reads can be distributed before a virtual meeting, so that people are better prepared, so meeting time is spent more effectively. A defined agenda and assigned roles during the meeting will also help meetings be more efficient.
Of course, there is so much more to remote working technologies than just conferencing. Cloud-based unified communications enables access to all internal business systems from anywhere, so remote workers have a truly integrated virtual workplace. They can be just as productive at home as they are in the office. Plus – and without sounding too ‘Big Brother’ – it becomes much harder for people to hide behind meetings or being out of the office.
Of course, the need to rapidly implement these tools in a short amount of time puts a lot of pressure on businesses, especially the smaller ones, some of whom are asking for cost breaks from providers. As a vendor, we have made products – including our softphone and MOBiiS mobile app and video collaboration offering – free into the summer. This is helping our partners, who in turn are in a better position to support their business customers during this fast transition to remote working."
CBM: Has your customer base become more remote? How has this changed your approach?
JHM: "As far as our customer communications are concerned, we have been ‘mobile first’ from day one, so for us, that is business-as-usual. Physical meetings have been cancelled, but so much of our engagement with our ecosystem is already via our own ISTRA platform, at which mobility is at the heart, from basic services through to advanced CRM integrations. Mobiles become a seamless part of the organization, connected through to business apps, rather than siloed. The organic growth of mobile-first adoption will be propelled by the current situation. We have seen a 30% uplift in app users in the past few weeks showing how much this is needed in these testing times."