17th October 2016 by GCI

Mobile working in 2006 often meant that you were given a mobile phone and semi mobile laptop and embarked on a working day with all the frustrations of not accessing all the data you needed, spending more time downloading than working or simply ran out of juice whilst desperately trying to hook into Starbuck’s WiFi.

Fast forward to today and chances are you are seamlessly connecting to your company’s business systems on a device that you either chose or bought yourself and can quite comfortably work anywhere. Barring a few blackspots, you may not even need a company mobile to make the majority of your calls, using just the data provision of your mobile operator.

Several technologies have converged to free the worker from the office, whilst increasing employee satisfaction, delivering more productivity and lowering the cost of doing business. But with the opportunity for power digital business transformation can also come new challenges for your IT department.

The Rise of Unified Communications

Unified communications software such as Skype for Business doesn’t just allow businesses to ditch their aging PBX systems, but also deliver a range of cost and efficiency benefits. Now, regardless of device or location we can see whether our colleagues are free, send instant messages, and share our screens, voice and video conference.

Because more calls can stay “on net”, meetings are so seamless and media rich, there are real savings to be had in terms of travel time and travel cost. Additionally, we aren’t as reliant on our company laptop, because we can use our tablets and own phones and get the same secure experience, even at home.

Modern UC solutions are also proving to be flexible enough to replace expensive dedicated call centre solutions whilst allowing agents to be compliant even when they are away from the office – useful when half your staff can’t get to the office because of a blizzard in the Highlands or the latest melt down on Southern Rail.

Avoiding the Wild West

Whilst there are a multitude of benefits from joining the “bring your own device” mobile workforce revolution, some CIOs were righty concerned about unleashing the IT equivalent of the Wild West frontier. This is much less of a worry these days, with vendors increasingly getting on board, providing solutions that protect your employees and the data they can share.

This means you can provide employees with smartphones of their choice, whilst still ensuring restrictions on what they can access and in the event they lose their phone you can centrally wipe them.

It also means you can let employees loose with the latest and greatest smart books and tablets, avoid the challenge of managing disparate hardware and still give them access to the latest applications and your data. This is centrally managed and delivered over secure connections supporting two factor authentication and preventing users holding sensitive data locally.

Greater Insight

Given how much of this is delivered using cloud based centralised technologies, it now allows employees and IT managers to start to get real insights into how people are working. The ability to use tools such as Power BI, give real time graphical insights into how much time is spent in meetings or answering emails, perhaps even how distracted we all are by our rich, social, permanently connected workspaces.

Perhaps the best way to benefit from all of this is to team up with a provider has a proven track record of stitching these technologies together to unlock the efficiency and productivity gains without giving you a compliance headache

Author: Jon Seddon is Head of Product at GCI

To find out more about unified communications please call GCI 0844 443 4433 or email