How can workplaces integrate legacy and new technologies to empower real-time, holistic and strategic communications and teamwork?

With so many changes brought about by the two-year-old COVID-19 pandemic, organizations are now rethinking real-time communication and collaboration in between onsite and remote teams.

The workplace has expanded beyond office boundaries, and this requires rethinking communication and putting it at the center of business processes.

For many firms, accelerating the digital transformation (DX) of their communication systems and networks is a way forward to drive future performance and success. However, there is no single approach to successfully migrate from a legacy model to the digital age since each firm must adapt its communication solutions from an existing ecosystem.

A recent study by Nature Human Behavior proposed that teleworking, as productive as it is, is optimized only if real-time communication tools are interconnected, reliable and suitably sized for the company and its employees.

How can organizations adapt existing communications networks and integrate every digital asset into a holistic digital ecosystem?

Real-time connectivity counts

Communications at work have largely been driven by users themselves, especially the generation of digital natives who grew up with connected devices. In particular, Gen Y has been the instigator of many changes in the way tools are used and the way enterprises communicate.

Research from IDC found that nearly half (49%) of APAC firms allowed employees to use their own devices amid pandemic, comprising personal smartphones and laptops. Real-time communications and collaboration amongst workers, no matter where they are located, have become an expected norm. The need to have the right information made accessible to the right person at the right time, regardless of the medium used, has never been greater than now.

Yet, while the world adopts digital-age communications, company networks are playing catchup and IT teams continues to face skill and technology challenges.

For IT and network teams, addressing the complexity and challenges that come with ensuring that the equipment communicate and transmit data in real time can be a major challenge. They must now see applications and connected objects through the same lens the that they see employees and users with: as assets of the organization that need to communicate vital information for mission-critical work.

Besides ensuring that communications tools and equipment connect well interoperably, IT teams must facilitate humans to interface with these tools and machines to communicate effectively, in a timely manner, and with real-time intelligence helping to boost their productivity and decision making tasks.

Mixing old and new comms

Additionally, to adapt existing communications networks and integrate every digital asset into a holistic digital ecosystem, firms must take control of the entanglement of their network infrastructures and the new possibilities offered by the Cloud (be it on-premises or hybrid cloud), to optimize digital communications.

At the same time, IT teams must ensure that their network caters to a future-of-work trend where new applications and services delivered on demand (or ‘as-a-service’) continue to evolve. This will encompass support for 5G and IoT technologies and integrating them into the digital ecosystem.

Yet, the fact is that many companies do not have the resources to develop entirely new digital communications ecosystems. It is then a question for IT teams to find truly-agnostic partners and then work with them to sort out communication and network infrastructure needs, or applications and connected-object requirements.

The challenge is to ensure that legacy network infrastructure can ‘co-exist’ with new digital solutions and minimize the impact on existing processes.

IT teams will need to develop a secure hybrid cloud to take full advantage of data and applications. They will also need to anticipate regulatory restrictions pertaining to this ecosystem—including those involving digital sovereignty—and ensure that the company data is protected.