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Is your technology as well as your culture right for digitalisation?

One of the buzzwords that has defined the last couple of years is digitalisation – if your organisation, whether public or private, doesn’t have the capacity to go completely digital there are people who believe it’s going to fall behind.

One company behind the technology that will make this digital environment easier is BroadSoft, and New Statesman Tech spoke to its chief digital marketing officer, Taher Behbehani, during a visit to the UK this week.

The company believes, quite simply, that communications needs to be simplified for the digital organisation to really take flight. “We were discussing a new email app on the way here,” he explained. “And whether it was secure. But my concern was that it was yet another app, one that sits on my email, to go with the 64 apps already on my phone.”

Each app sends a notification or whatever it does, and none is aware of what the others are doing, which he believed is a problem. There is too much noise and too many notifications, he suggests. BroadSoft’s answer is its business suite, very much a bringing-together of all of the elements of communication – social media, email, IM and others – into one console. Other platforms attempt elements of this, but frequently (for example when a Gmail screen shows you someone’s Tweets) you need to come out and go into another app for the full picture.

The BroadSoft suite is aimed at larger enterprises and has a lot to offer contact centres wanting “contextual intelligence” as the company calls it, with the system prioritising the information as it goes. Where this is really important to the IT professional, however, is in the way it’s likely to usher in the “digitalised” business, or at least help it along.

Digitalisation through attrition

We’ve come to a tipping point, says Behbehani, because the old PBX systems that powered communications are on their way out and are no longer being replaced or upgraded with like for like. We’ve heard this before but this time it’s real as a number of things have changed. “The cloud is viable, broadband can accommodate it, the PBX vendors are no longer around and workers need more mobility,” he said. All of this points towards a digital business using apps. We are finally reaching the stage, he believes, where technology will help improve the way people work rather than dictate how they should do it.

“It’s very much a case of asking a CIO where they want to be, and if one environment solves all their needs they’ll go with it,” he said. A crucial element is in having an open API; communications and screen sharing standards have to be universal if we’re not to end up with technology silos again.

We’re into the time of the digital business, said Behbehani, and that means changes in product – “don’t go and get the new version of the old stuff”, he said – but also a new culture in business. IT professionals need to understand that the current generation regards its phone or other device as its workspace rather than just something on which it makes calls; the next wave of workers will get everything from its banking to its music from the cloud so everything needs to be there or they’ll consider it out of date. Digital transformation is happening, and it may be necessary to check your existing technology to make sure it happens right.