Technology has dramatically changed the way we do business over the past decade. The workplace dynamic has been enhanced through the introduction and evolution of team collaboration. Email and phone calls are now taking a backseat to unified communications. Through software collaboration tools, work teams are discovering new ways to interact with their coworkers and get things done more quickly and efficiently. These tools have also widened the market for telecommuters and remote workers. Businesses are no longer limited to finding the right employee from a pool of local applicants.
The Rise of SaaS
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a model in which software is licensed through a subscription and hosted centrally by a software vendor. SaaS has become more common through business applications such as Microsoft Office 365, payroll processing software, management software, and even team collaboration software. This trend has become an excellent replacement for annual subscriptions to software you had to install locally on a computer, with a single license per user. Instead, SaaS offers businesses the flexibility to just as many users to the service as necessary.
Data and Device Virtualization
Virtual machines are saving businesses thousands each year over the cost of physical machines. Virtual desktops enable employees to work remotely through their personal tablet or computer. Through secure connections, employees can perform their work and access encrypted documents and file shares. Businesses save money because they don’t have to purchase and maintain additional hardware for their virtual workers.
Virtual Reality in the Workplace
Virtual reality (VR) isn’t just for gamers. Through this technology, business leaders can experience having a physical presence with their teams from the comfort of their own office. VR enables people to feel like they’re in the same physical space at the same time for a 3 D reality experience lost in the 2 D world of video teleconferences. Who benefits from this? Think architects, software developers, even business developers with business models to present to new customers. As this technology matures, productivity will continue to increase, and products and services will move forward into the competitive market.
Intelligent Workplace Design
As technology is integrated more into the physical components of the workplace, such as ceiling sensors tracking office light levels, temperature, and more, employees will experience a more comfortable environment. If you have to spend 40 hours in an office, you may as well be comfortable. Technology is becoming more integrated in everyday physical objects, too, and will soon allow workers the comfort they need to become more productive.
Project Management and Team Collaboration
Team collaboration software tools tie everything together. SaaS tools such as Confluence, Slack, and Quip enable teams to work in real time. Documents and presentations can be updated and commented on concurrently in real time to increase efficiency and reduce the number of unnecessary meetings. Think of these tools as teams holding on-the-fly meetings. This technology is valuable for sales and marketing team members who want to make a presentation but need everyone’s collaboration on it even up to the time the meeting begins. Real-time collaboration is possible through these tools, which will only continue to enhance production as time goes on.
About the Author:
Anthony Ortega has extensive IT support and systems engineering experience in government environments. A solutions-focused professional, he has led staff; worked in network operations support, information assurance, and change management; managed project software and licenses; and provided quality assurance. Anthony is currently working on his Ph.D. dissertation in Organizations and Management, with a specialty in IT Management. He is an analyst with Studio B.