Contemporary Communication Technology: Flashy Gimmick or Useful Investment?

Contemporary communication technology is the bedrock of modern business. If you don't believe it, try being productive with your phone, tablet, or laptop on airplane mode for the day. In an age where people have the proverbial ear of the entire world at their fingertips, some enterprise organizations still struggle with communication and collaboration.

Retailers can benefit from contemporary communication technology.
The retail industry can benefit from using contemporary communication technology.

To be more specific, industries such as retail and transportation find themselves well ahead of the communications curve, while energy and government, for example, often find themselves playing catch-up. It stands to reason that such a basic necessity of modern business would become a top priority for any vertical.

The question is, why do some struggle to keep their communication strategies current while others prove themselves perennial leaders and champions of contemporary communication technology?

Sizing Up the Disconnect

In an effort to truly understand the discrepancy between these unique industries, consider a recent communication study that examined this exact phenomenon. The study took a fine-tooth comb through some 800 firms containing at least 250 employees each. These organizations represented a wide range of industries in an effort to get the best picture of overall communication strategy.

The study found that an organization's use of modern communication technology was directly tied to the intrinsic maturity of its communication strategy. Those who understand the value of strong communication appear to employ more modern strategies — in other words, more technology.

While this may not seem a particularly profound nugget of wisdom, it holds important insight into the usefulness of communications technology in just about every industry today. You see, while telephony may have once been the be-all and end-all of enterprise communications, times have changed — for the better.

In industries with a high communication maturity, recognition of the myriad ways in which customers and employees now prefer to communicate — text message, instant message, and video conference, for example — has been met with an accompanying shift in strategy and technology. For those on the other end of the spectrum, in-house telephony remains the cornerstone of their communications abilities. At least 70 percent of companies that scored high marks on the communications technology maturity spectrum already made use of cloud-based platforms such as CPaaS. Conversely, a mere 1 percent of those that scored low were currently using CPaaS solutions.

At least 70 percent of companies with high marks on the communications technology maturity spectrum already use cloud-based platforms.

Why Does Contemporary Communication Technology Matter?

So, is cloud-based communications technology the answer to everyone's challenges? Not necessarily, though it certainly helps. When you break down the research further, you begin to see a few trends emerge that differentiate high scorers from low scorers:

  • Use of automation and integration
  • Location of communications systems
  • Number of communications technologies used

Mature organizations use more cloud communications solutions in more locations and with greater effects. To what end, though? According to the research, a very successful one.

In the retail industry, for example, leveraging cloud communications technology in business allows organizations to interact with their customers more effectively by using the method they find most convenient. APIs can give way to custom integration of modern technology such as SMS and instant messaging. The result is innovative communication in the form of order status over text message and virtual call centers for support. These otherwise subtle additions to communication strategy ultimately contribute to better customer relationships.

It all boils down to meeting your customers where they're at. In all likelihood, traditional telephony isn't their preferred mode of communication. By diversifying communication strategies, mature organizations are able to facilitate new, meaningful connections.

From contextual communications in retail to mobile reservations in the transportation industry, mature organizations are relying less and less on in-house systems and instead taking advantage of the mobility, flexibility, and automation of cloud-based platforms.

It's worth noting that those who find themselves on the low-maturity end of the spectrum aren't necessarily lost. On the contrary, their communication strategies could be holding up just fine. It isn't so much what these organizations are doing wrong, but rather, what they could be doing better. By championing a culture in which contemporary communication technology is at the forefront of overall strategy, these organizations can take a step beyond basic customer connections and into a communications environment that fosters tangible innovation.

For even more insights on contemporary communication technology, download the "Business Communications Transformation" white paper from Vonage and IDC. To learn how your organization's communications compare with leading organizations in your industry, take a 5-minute assessment now.

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