The CEO’s perspective:
2014 was the most exciting year in Unified Communications & Collaboration since I began my career in Networking and Communications back in 2001.
The industry became more software-centric, placing greater emphasis on cloud computing and associated business models, forcing the restructure of sales strategies, as systems integrators jostled for dominance.
Here at Forfusion, 2014 brought a welcome shift in culture. With the launch of our Government Secure Services division and the increase in demand for our professional services across the globe, we truly became anywhere workers. Even though we’d expanded our geographical footprint and increased our headcount, the demands of the business meant that many team members had to work remotely and flexibly – and we relished it!
So what Unified Communications & Collaboration trends will we see in 2015? Here are my top six predictions:
More employees will demand flexible working from employers – especially now that all workers have the legal right to request flexible working hours. Many of Forfusion’s clients have embraced this trend by deploying applications such as Microsoft Lync (soon to be rebranded as Skype for Business), which has enabled teams to maintain productivity, regardless of location, with features such as instant messaging and presence, screen sharing, file sharing and video conferencing.
Seamless customer care from contact centres of all sizes – developments in collaboration technology, such as the Cisco Business Edition 6000, will continue to improve ‘omni-channel’ experiences for both employees and customers, enabling voice and video, messaging, web chat and campaigning, in turn streamlining customer service through a single pane of glass, for a fraction of the cost.
Growth of CRM – Sales of CRM (customer relationship management) grew 9% in 2014 and are expected to continue to grow in 2015. Organisations of all sizes will begin to realise how platforms, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, can integrate sales and marketing engines to measure ROI and track performance more effectively, not to mention the automation of business processes and recording of customer interactions.
Decline of emails – new generations of workers entering the workplace are discovering new and more efficient ways to communicate and collaborate that weren’t available when their senior counterparts started working, such as enterprise social networking, like Yammer for example.
Dynamic data – the demand for relevant and easily available data will grow across all industries, broadening beyond simple geolocation by attaching real time information to the conversation.
The continued rise of social media in B2B selling – ‘social selling’ will become more integrated with the purchase decision making process, enabling sellers and buyers to have a more direct and holistic engagement, resulting in stronger relationships that can focus on customer needs and finding the right solution to meet those needs.
Forfusion has some big plans for 2015. We’ll be recruiting more highly talented people to join our dynamic team, increasing our turnover to record breaking levels and expanding into new markets, starting with the launch of Pragmatist – a customised Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online platform designed specifically to solve the pain points of the Public Relations (PR) industry.