Reliable and secure communications technology is vital in a marketplace where the workforce is becoming increasingly mobile. In this new culture of connectivity, CIOs have an opportunity to make a difference in their company’s strategy and embrace this challenge, or risk being left behind as competitors pass them by.
A recent survey Nortel Networks Ltd. completed with IDC reports that in less than five years up to 40 percent of the workforce will be hyperconnected, demanding everywhere, all-the-time communications. Not only will these individuals be emailing colleagues or using IM while on the go, they will also be tapping into social networks and online communities such as blogs, wikis, and online forums to improve business communications.
According to the IDC study, two-thirds of the individuals surveyed use text or instant messaging for both work and personal use, and more than one in three organizations use social networks and online communities for some form of internal or external communication.
This group, called the “hyperconnected,” will be addicted to a variety of technology offerings and, in the future, will demand more high-bandwidth mobile applications like video and Web 3.0 from employers to support their business and personal needs.
Next-gen mobile communication devices like the iPhone, and new media platforms like YouTube Inc. , Twitter, and Second Life, are increasingly being used to communicate in the global marketplace. This demand from employees and customers adds complexity and pressures to the enterprise network and, in turn, challenges the CIO who is responsible for keeping his finger on the pulse of societal trends.
In order to compete in the global marketplace and take maximum advantage of this new “culture of connectivity,” corporate management and IT executives need to re-examine their current IT investments and business technology strategies. They must find ways to leverage tools, such as unified communications, and modify personnel policies, security regimes, and overall business practices to turn the challenges of hyperconnectivity into opportunities that drive bottom-line results.
Why is it important for CIOs to adapt to this changing environment? It’s nearly impossible not to and still run a successful business. Enterprises are going to have to compete for talented employees. As baby boomers retire, corporations will find themselves increasingly competing for talent, and this new breed of hyperconnected individuals will expect to work in a rich communications environment.
These workers, whether they are in or out of the office, will expect 24/7 access to information stored on the company’s enterprise server and multiple devices, such as PCs, laptops, and PDAs. Access to these new communications solutions, such as secure wireless Internet access, virtual meeting and telepresence capabilities, and Web 2.0 applications, will become a strong determining factor in their decision whether or not to accept the job.
With all the complexity surrounding them, the end goal for CIOs remains simple: to provide information securely and reliably, ensuring that, while being constantly connected, employees are still being productive.
— Steve Bandrowczak, CIO, Nortel