Having worked from home since 2001, I have long understood how it can lead to a more fluid – and I believe more productive – way of working. The challenge has always been the technology.
Across the lockdown however, many more people worldwide have found themselves in the same position as me: desk in the attic, a lot of Apple products all pining and bonging at once and wifi stretched to the limit.
While tools such as Asana, Google Docs, Zoom and Slack have all made me more connected to the people I work for and with, it is only now that many large organisations are starting to take note that their workers are interacting with each other, their clients and the company mothership through a vast array of services.
The way it is shaping up is very redolent of the challenge many of these same businesses face in how they interact with their consumers. As we have written about much over the years, consumers are now also very fluid in how they interact with brands and businesses – and they demand that those businesses service them where they are.
This has seen a rise in large comms companies buying up players that can offer RCS, WhatsApp and other OTT messaging integrations and has given birth to the concept of Communications Platforms as a Service (CPaaS).
The challenge many of these businesses now face is that their workforce, ever more hybrid in where it works from, is demanding the same degree of integration and flexibility.
For all the CPaaS providers out there this presents a huge new opportunity: these very same comms plug-ins that you are offering to supply and manage for the consumer-facing end of the business can also be adapted and sold as a service to workforce-facing side of the business.
A study out this week from TelcoSwitch suggests that this is a huge opportunity. It finds that most companies now have a much more fluid approach to their workforce and the technology they use is key to making them more productive.
It advocates that technology should be deployed to workers in a similar way to how businesses deploy it to service clients and customers. It needs to be put in place to allow everyone to use it, how they want to use it, where they want to use it and when.
The flexibility needed to achieve this is going to require a radical corporate rethink of how they manage technology deployments – and this is where the CPaaS model comes into play.
By buying in the services that are needed and having them managed creates the agility needed to offer all workers the kinds of comms services and IT that the new way of working demands.
It also helps plug that other gap: cyber security.
One of the worries around this more distributed workforce, using their own tech on the corporate and public networks, is that it is less secure. Using SaaS and CPaaS-like models can also keep the business on top of the security necessary to make this new a more flexible kind of working safe.