15 years ago, Microsoft shook the roof at Enterprise Connect with the announcement of Office Communications Server and the concept of “unified communications”. I was fortunate to be a part of the start of this revolution. The internet was just getting its running feet and what is the internet, but cheap, ubiquitous communication. The components of UC were already out there: IM via yahoo, Web Conferencing via Go to Meeting, IP Telephony owned by Cisco, and Contact Center solutions for Customer Service dominated by Avaya/Nortel. They were all siloed and from multivendor land.
The initial reaction was “what did Microsoft understand about Telephony and Network?”. They were lauded and lumped in with the disaster that was Windows Vista. Microsoft could never do what Cisco was doing! (was the general reaction from the thought leaders at the time.) How wrong they were.
Two years later every vendor that attended the show had changed their branding and their titles to “unified communications this and that” and the race was on.
Cisco clearly saw the threat and tried to launch their own email platform. It was a stunning admission when everyone realized the power and value of UC is not the network or the physical phone. It was the productivity solutions with communications modalities behind it that would eventually rule the day.
Fast forward to today and it’s clear that, at the enterprise level, Unified Communications and Collaboration are what drives business. We would all be in the food lines due to Covid 19 if we did not have them. The concept of working from home is no longer an experiment and there is so much upside to this that I believe, as do many others, that our work life is going to permanently change.
Here is an example:
I recently changed employment and called my Fidelity customer service representative (yes I actually made a phone call) to move my 401K out to a new IRA, worked my way through the IVR and landed with a mid-level CS Rep. She was able to begin the process of moving my money over and asked that we wait a few minutes to confirm the move. Being the extrovert I am I began asking her a few questions.
Me: Where are you today?
CS Rep: I am working from home outside of LA.
Me: Have you ever worked from home in the past
CS Rep: Never!
Me: How do you like it?
CS Rep: I Love it! I don’t have to deal with the traffic, I see my kids and husband, I don’t have buy fancy clothes, I don’t have the expense of gas and Mileage on the car.
And she went on and on about how this was the best thing that ever happened to her.
Me: Would you take a 5K pay cut if you could continue with this work from home lifestyle.
CS Rep: Absolutely.
And there you have it from the employee side of things. Simply put a better work/life balance Is worth a significant pay cut. Too bad we had to have Covid 19 to realize this.
How about from the Employer side of things?
Well firstly there will always be a need for employees to be physically located in the business if they are not information workers, fair enough. Warehouses etc. I won’t argue that point, although I will say there has been a trend of Food Trucks and Mobile Dog groomers that would say a physical location is not needed.
But for a large population of office workers, the opportunity, and data around work from home productivity that Covid 19 has provided is astounding. Ill use a Law firm owned by a friend as an example. 80-hour work weeks by Legal associates in the hallowed halls and offices of law firms have long been a tradition. “we have never worked from home” began my friend. “I have 60 Paralegals and Associates on web conferences, collaborating, being productive. Everyone is happy and getting it done.”
This is not news to me and many of my peers who have been getting it done from home for many years. I happen to be in a role where if you don’t get it done you lose your job (SALES). So, I have a built-in productivity measure that keeps me going.
That is not the case with many other roles, but along comes Corona and suddenly the need for Data and Analytics to show productivity are front and center to this reality. And here’s the thing. The Data and Analytics are overwhelmingly showing working from home productivity is achievable, and in many cases exponentially better. Folks are logging on at night after the kids are asleep and getting work done ahead of the coming day. IT works!
Of course, this presents Enterprise IT with a new challenge. Managing tens of thousands of users that are now outside the four walls. Just about every Enterprise is dealing with this today so ill shamelessly plug that Code Software Teams Data and Analytics has a solution for this, and as a result our customers are seeing the results of the work from home experiment in a new light.
Disaster recovery used to mean losing a data center or a single site. That has new meaning today as in “everyone out of the office and go home”.
The accountants are not in the dark on this. Here are what I suspect are some of their findings.
Travel budgets are gone, mostly $
Office space? What if we did not need that million dollar a month office downtown? $
Accountants are good at this and you can bet the CFO is talking with the CEO about this as the first quarter of data are coming to the surface and they see the potential impact on profit.
Let me be bold and say for our Millennial crowd that there are some great societal benefits to this as well.
Less Traffic = Less Pollution
Work life Balance = Less stress and better overall health of our society.
An astute politician would wrap all this up with a tax incentive and environmental message and do quite well with it I Imagine. I would not want to be in the Commercial Real Estate business in the near future as well.
Thanks for hearing me out, I’m curious to hear your thoughts, and if you have a challenge with proving productivity, I have a solution for you.
Contact Steven for more information today: email@example.com