Today’s world moves fast—I mean, really fast. During this time, we’ve also witnessed businesses rapidly expand and, in the process, become increasingly interconnected across international borders. For U.S. companies, this translates to a greater need for collaboration and communications to power their operations at a global level.
Evidence of this lies in the significant growth of the global unified communications (UC) market, which is expected to reach nearly $345 billion by 2028, expanding at a CAGR of 20.5% from 2021. A heightened demand for real-time and remote collaboration tools signals a universal desire for uninterrupted connectivity and seamless methods of communicating with partners, suppliers, customers and talent from anywhere around the world.
Painting a global picture
The growing adoption of cloud-based UC is allowing geographically diverse and dispersed teams to work together and collaborate mutually in real time via chat, voice and video conferencing. But what’s actually driving this migration and demand? Well, a multitude of factors are responsible:
- Companies are leaving on-premises hardware behind for modern IP-based solutions. Around the globe, enterprises are steering away from traditional phone systems—and wisely so. Since the early 2000s, copper-based lines and prem-based IP PBX have seen a huge drop in customers. That’s because they are expensive, inflexible and inhibit productivity among employees, which, in turn, undercuts both the employee and the customer experience (CX).
Gartner reports that by 2025, 51% of IT spending will have shifted from traditional solutions to the public cloud, compared to 41% in 2022. During this time, corporate IT teams will face tremendous pressure to manage a wider set of technologies, all of which requires a significant amount of expertise. As a result, they’re finding it makes more sense to migrate communication solutions to the cloud and tap into a partner to help manage them.
- The hybrid workforce necessitates the evolution of communications and collaboration. The number of people who work from home today has increased by 140% since 2005. Businesses recognize how much UC is helping to simplify their employees’ ability to stay connected and productive from anywhere, with 90% of full-time remote workers stating they are as productive or more productive than compared to when they toiled in the office.
- Employees worldwide are thriving from home. Workforce productivity is just one aspect that businesses need to consider in this new age of work-from-anywhere. Life outside the traditional 9-to-5 office job has opened up a whole new way of life, changing everything—from the way we plan out our day-to-day routines, to applying for jobs outside our current cities, states or even countries. This type of flexibility has been proven to lead to a better employee experience, which intrinsically ushers in a better CX. UCaaS plays a big part in creating viable work environments by integrating a variety of different communications tools for richer, more seamless collaboration.
Businesses are catering to this new era of remote and hybrid work for their own direct benefit as well. Airbnb’s co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky recently announced a policy stating that their employees can live and work anywhere. “If we limited our talent pool to a commuting radius around our offices, we would be at a significant disadvantage … [by] recruiting from a diverse set of communities, we will become a more diverse company,” he said.
- People want options for how and when they communicate. Across continental businesses, face-to-face communication has been experiencing a serious decline. Providing different modes of daily interaction is critical to maintaining positive relationships through efficient and consistent communications.
Organizations with UC solutions have many options. Written communication allots more time for international business partners to compose thoughts and accurately express intentions or concerns. On the other hand, audio and video conferencing facilitates a more engaging live business interaction at lower cost. Teams can also collaborate by sharing documents and ideas online and by viewing each other’s computers remotely so that they can work together. Put these together and UC provides all major components of successful business communications.
Best practices for global collaboration
There’s no doubt about it; the future will continue to become more collaborative across the world. To keep up with demand, U.S. companies can benefit from implementing cloud-based solutions to effectively communicate with their global partners, employees and clients and do it from any location and any device.
Unified communications has been an essential element to enabling global business success and expansion. Tapping into the power of global collaboration for your enterprise starts with these four best practices:
- Adopt a new mindset. Leaders must rethink their workplace culture and environment to be more inclusive of remote and hybrid options, and ensure that communication channels become less siloed, more universal and more cloud-based to support the work-from-anywhere trend. Don’t begin with the assumption that everyone needs to work from the office all the time.
- Find a solution with key features that can transcend borders. U.S. enterprises with international locations need the capabilities of a global UC solution to enhance workforce productivity and unlock seamless, secure communications. When exploring options, ask potential providers if their solution offers vital features like flexible access, global time zone support, free intra-company calling, international numbers for local presence and local number portability. What about data compliance in countries outside of the U.S.? Leave no stone unturned with your diligent research.
- Don’t settle for anything less than a 360-degree view into your UC solution. Look for intuitive desktop and mobile applications that offer real-time visibility, administrative control and end-user communication tools, all from a single-pane-of-glass portal. Having a single, secure, cloud-based platform will make it significantly easier to stay connected with employees, partners and customers and to ensure solutions are operating as intended.
- Prioritize security as part of your UC solution. The world saw an alarming 105% surge in cyberattacks last year. Security has become a critical factor for determining which partners organizations will consider. Certainly, you’ll want a solution that encrypts meetings and messages, and protects data and information in the cloud. Product attributes like these will create a more secure environment for organizations with highly distributed environments.
Collaboration is the backbone of any successful business
It’s a virtuous cycle: Globalization influences business communications; business communications influences globalization. For U.S. enterprises that are looking to expand across borders, applying these best practices and implementing the right solutions will be critical components to overarching success.
This is something Windstream Enterprise is passionate about supporting. Through our proprietary cloud-based UCaaS platform, OfficeSuite UC®, we help businesses establish a local presence in international markets with secure access to voice, chat, virtual meetings and content sharing. We don’t just provide the advanced technology—we also back it up with unrivaled customer support and expertise. What’s more, our UC solution is backed by our award-winning solution guarantee, the WE will Commitment, ensuring our clients’ complete satisfaction with the option to simply walk away with no obligations or termination fees if expectations are otherwise not met.