The third industrial revolution was enabled by the development of mobile telephony and satellites, as early as the 1980s, and the positive adoption of these technologies was boosted by growing user demand for the mobile experience.
Currently, thanks to the rise of broadband and cloud services, telecommunications are increasingly fast, native, omnichannel and no longer only carried out between people, but also between applications and connected objects (IoT). This is now known as the fourth industrial revolution.
In the enterprise field, this digital transformation has been amplified by the health crisis and the need to have the right information, at the right time, for the right person, regardless of the medium used.
Beyond the flex-office: the Digital Workplace
The digital transformation has been driven by the users themselves and by the generation of digital natives, born in a world with connected devices. In particular, Generation Y has been the instigator of many changes in the way tools are used and the way enterprises communicate. Thus, “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) has paved the way for the acceptance of portable devices in companies, such as smartphones, in order to gain mobility, nomadism and the ability to work from anywhere and everywhere.
The multiplication of connected objects, which can be used on-site or remotely, is also a key aspect of digital transformation, addressing the problem of communicating and transmitting data in real-time.
Since the health crisis, enterprises have begun to rethink the office, beyond the flex-office, bringing it into the era of digital communications. The digital workplace is an office adapted to all new forms of communication which is more agile, more customisable and also accessible from any place or device. However, it is important to respect the limitations, including connection time for end-users, at the risk of creating frustration among employees or customers.
The advent of high-speed technologies such as 5G or fibre makes it easy to capture and transmit data in real-time and to process and analyse it with the power and speed of the central network; while the accessibility of the cloud makes data available at any point. The acceleration of these technologies creates a major challenge for companies: to be equipped to address the digital transformation autonomously and also effectively implement real-time communication throughout its digital ecosystem.
Connect all company assets
As real-time communications and collaboration become quickly widespread, they also become the heart of companies’ performance challenges. However, there is no single scheme for migrating from a historical model to the digital age, since each company must adapt its communication solutions from an existing ecosystem.
In the same way as an employee, applications and connected objects must now be considered as assets of the company. Although applications and connected objects respond to a simple and automated function, communication in the digital age will make it possible to have people and applications interact with each other, with data collected and processed by machines, regardless of location and device used. The goal is, through the organisation of these elements and automation in business processes, to optimise the performance of the entire system to offer a real-time communication experience without latency, which is collaborative and secure, to process the data or information needed at the right time.
This digital transformation is happening step by step: first by adopting a more flexible model to migrate to a digital workplace, then by rethinking communications to put them at the centre of business processes.
Migrate to the cloud at your own pace
Voice over IP (VoIP) technology was the first step towards unified communications. However, when we now talk about communication in the digital age, we imagine much further than telephony. We think of communication between people, by voice through telephony and collaborative tools such as conference platforms and online chat. But now communication also includes objects and machines communicating through AI to transmit useful information to operators, such as temperature or pressure sensors for predictive maintenance or geolocation beacons for tracking operations.
In order to optimise digital communications, companies must take control of the entanglement of their network infrastructures and the new possibilities offered by the cloud (hybrid, private, etc.). In the not-too-distant future, networks will have to support a 5G, LAN or Wireless LAN technology and integrate harmoniously into the digital ecosystem chosen by the company. A mix between network infrastructure and cloud, which must be tailor-made to best meet the rapidly changing needs of a company. Every day, new services available on-demand or “as-a-service” appear and this will continue to evolve because we are only at the beginning of this new revolution of work.
Many companies do not have the internal resources to develop these new ecosystems. It is then a question of finding truly agnostic partners in terms of technologies, communication and network infrastructure, applications and connected objects, to build a flexible model from all the existing elements and the expected prerequisites according to the sector of activity.
The challenge will be to make what is already in place coexist with “all-digital” solutions, to limit the impact on existing processes, to develop a secure hybrid cloud to fully take advantage of data and applications, and to anticipate regulations related to this ecosystem, including digital sovereignty and ensure the protection of company data.
For many companies, accelerating their digital transformation guarantees their future performance and success, impacting the talent recruited and the customers retained. A recent study by Nature Human Behavior, shows that teleworking, as productive as it is, is optimised only if real-time communication tools are interconnected, reliable and suitably sized for the company and its employees.
Currently, the question is not whether to integrate communications into the digital age, through the implementation of a digital workplace, but when and how to do it. More than 18 months of health crisis have highlighted the need for companies and organisations to migrate to a digital environment that will allow them to communicate in real-time, with people and devices, no matter where they are. This is the goal, this is the future we are working towards and through digital transformation, this is the goal we will reach.