There is no denying the impact that the pandemic has had on companies of all sizes, forcing organizations from all sectors to adapt to confusing conditions and ensure business continuity. While some companies already had the equipment to work with distributed work resources, most found themselves in a situation with which they did not know how to cope.
Studies show that remote work had already begun to spread long before the quarantine situation arose: about 55% of companies allowed some aspects of remote work. However, the crisis has changed the technological priorities of 95% of companies, requiring new security strategies, connectivity and collaboration.
With the spread of the first lockdowns in many countries, the time when all employees got to the office every day ended. The safety of employees and customers is of paramount importance, and the traditional office environment no longer provides the protection that companies need.
In this new landscape, human resources are more distributed than ever, and many employees work from home with limited access to the functions they used in the office. Communication services play a critical role in this new environment, enabling people to perform incredible business operations, interact with colleagues, suppliers or customers.
Unfortunately, the communication services developed for the old work models are simply not suitable for this new environment. Adaptation and re-organization are needed to meet the requirements of the new landscape, when you can work from anywhere in the world.
About 74% of financial directors say they plan to transfer employees to remote workplaces after the end of the lockdown. For most brands, the pandemic has become a catalyst for a faster transition to a work environment from anywhere in the world.
However, it is important for business leaders to remember that all their employees have unique requirements that need to be taken into account. Despite the fact that every employee needs access to effective and reliable services for collaboration and communication, there are some important differences that should be considered. The type of work and mobility patterns will influence communication needs. Business leaders will have to create user profiles to determine when and how to invest in certain technology solutions.
Questions to ask yourself include:
Conducting an assessment on various profiles present in the team will help business leaders identify at least three to five categories of people with whom they should compare corporate communication services and applications. For example, you may notice that some of your employees often move around the territory of the organization, falling into a group of so-called "roomers". Other groups may include "team workers" who spend a lot of time at their desk at video and audio conferences.
Some patterns and profiles may manifest themselves in several industries, but each category must be properly mapped to the tools it most needs.
For example, a nurse in the healthcare sector and a warehouse worker in the field of e-commerce can be classified as "roomers". However, emergency notifications and instant access to information may be more important for a nurse than for a warehouse worker.
During 2020, many companies took the opportunity to discover communication services and ensure business continuity on a broader scale. However, more than half of employees believe that their companies need to invest in more advanced technologies.
The key to continuous success in a new work environment from anywhere in the world is to provide the right long-term solutions to support not only business continuity. Organizations also need to ensure the safety of people and customer satisfaction at the highest level.
The following client cases are real-life examples of Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise solutions deployed by real companies. These cases show that often the implementation of the right solutions for large-scale changes in business operations can be quick and easy with proper planning. More importantly, with the help of a suitable partner, companies can gain access to the communication services they need, not only for survival, but also for prosperity in the coming years.
This company had to ensure safety and efficiency on the necessary scale in critical situations. The challenge was to find a way to better protect the average medical staff during critical missions with communication solutions, while limiting the spread of the virus and increasing work efficiency.
DECT mobile devices have received hundreds of employees from the category of average medical staff to use call routing capabilities and the functions of free subscriber search groups, preventing staff from having to deal with common devices that could contribute to the spread of the virus. Integration with warning and alarm systems made it possible to quickly and easily respond to medical emergencies.
This company needed to quickly adapt customer service solutions to cope with social distancing and remote work.
The solution was to deploy hundreds of desktop phones in a home environment in four days for all respondents via secure VPN connections compatible with all Internet service providers.
For some companies, the ideal solution would be to use BYOD strategies that allow employees to use their own equipment in an environment of their choice. For others, access to comprehensive desktop phone technology will be critical to maintaining the same quality of service for all customers and the same level of critical regulatory compliance.
For this company, the key to success was to improve teamwork and access to information that people exchange, despite the distance. Here there was a problem of connecting equipment for first-line personnel via DECT mobile devices to the equipment of office personnel using Teams. However, the company was able to provide reliable and secure telephony services for Microsoft Teams by integrating Rainbow services, while maintaining its corporate telephony infrastructure within a hybrid cloud model.
Thanks to Alcatel-Lucent Rainbow, the company was able to get the necessary high-quality business telephony functions that are not automatically included in Microsoft Teams. The result is the creation of an optimal collaboration experience combined with high—quality telephony in accordance with the highest security standards.
This business needed to increase the mobility of the average medical staff and provide unhindered mobile communication in 13 buildings. The task was to equip the average medical staff with mobile devices that meet the requirements of healthcare, with the possibility of automatic configuration to the local network and a handover function.
In this case, the solution was to provide seamless handover functions and auto-tuning to the local network via sanitized DECT and DECT IP phones running on a fault—tolerant communications platform - with the possibility of hot switching.
This German retail company needed to figure out how to continue customer service during the lockdown through agents who had not previously worked from home. The solution was to transfer the functionality of softphones to remote agents for four days with modeling of all the functions of corporate telephony and workplace functionality, as if they were in a contact center building.
With Rainbow, the company was also able to provide screen sharing, mentoring, and training services to help employees become more efficient online.
For this educational group, the biggest challenge was to figure out how to implement distance learning opportunities for teachers working in a remote environment, while ensuring the confidentiality of students' personal information.
The use of the current telephone infrastructure and the introduction of hybrid cloud communications allowed the company to open up new opportunities. Softphones and Rainbow technology supported 600 teachers and allowed students to call without disclosing personal numbers. The system was also integrated with the existing Learning Management System (LMS).
The task of this transport company was to maintain the level of customer satisfaction during periods of peak activity.
The organization needed to determine how it could handle the increased number of interactions with customers and suppliers in the context of a pandemic, while reducing the waiting time and increasing the efficiency factor.
The solution here was to provide instant access to all customer data during incoming calls through integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Instant access to chronological information about customers or suppliers and automatic collection of phone numbers have reduced the number of errors and reduced waiting time.
For these two groups of their public sector — one in France, the other in California — the same problem was figuring out how to respond to citizens' requests when working in a traditional office environment is no longer possible.
The solution allowed local authorities to configure and form communication systems without any knowledge in the field of IT through a ready-to-use solution for automatically routing calls to the desired department. Each department could record and publish voice messages without the support of the IT department.
Remote work from anywhere in the world should not be as difficult or expensive as it seems. In the stories of our clients above, there are no stories about the complete rejection of old solutions. Instead, we looked at situations where the existing communication system can become the basis for something better, more diverse and more digital.
Ensuring perfect results when working from anywhere can be as simple and flexible as any business needs. The key to success is simply to understand how to work with the right partner. Working with ALE on individual solutions, the companies represented in the above cases were able to develop individual strategies to solve their most pressing problems.
So how do business leaders make sure they choose the right partner?
Some companies will switch completely to the cloud, while others will focus on hybrid deployments. Finding a suitable partner means that you will continue to have the opportunity to choose, get comprehensive information about what is really necessary from the point of view of cloud architecture.
Some of your team members can make do with a softphone or an application for smartphones or computers. Other employees of your organization will need their own landline or conference phone. It is very important to have a partner who can implement all the technological solutions you need.
Your provider should be able to promise you an incredible level of uptime, no matter what. When you move your communications to the cloud, you strive for sustainability and business continuity. The right provider will be able to provide high quality work, no matter what happens.
All companies have their own requirements for the transition to a cloud environment. Your solution should be equipped with features that suit your employees. For some, this will mean access to instant notifications on a smartphone, for others — the ability to connect to other devices and technologies via the Internet of Things. A flexible environment is crucial to facilitate work and access to new features.
Leading cloud solutions, such as Rainbow, can work with third-party solutions and services through integrations using the API and SDK. There are no restrictions on building a communication system suitable for your business. Flexibility is key in a world where employees rely on an increasing number of applications every day.
Your provider should consider your requirements when it comes to security, regulatory compliance, and privacy in your industry. The best partner for you can offer additional support to ensure compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, PCI, etc.
Wherever the office is, communication is the key to success. Proper communication services are the link between business processes, applications and objects. When your communication channel is strong enough, no virus will ever be able to break your business.
If you are interested in getting more information about solutions for organizing remote work, contact us for advice in the office.