Polycom Employee

Guest Blog: Jens Brauer, Area Sales VP, DACH & Central, EMEA

 

Jens Brauer 4.jpgWas für einen Großteil der Menschen nach wie vor unvorstellbar ist, ist in vielen Bereichen bereits Realität: Roboter werden im Laufe der vierten industriellen Revolution mehr und mehr zum Teil unseres Lebens.

 

Zwar ist der Einsatz von Robotern bisher hauptsächlich auf Produktionshallen beschränkt, zum Beispiel auf die Arbeit am Fließband in der Automobilindustrie, allerdings finden sich auch in privaten Haushalten schon jetzt einzelne Exemplare - beispielsweise als Staubsauger. Weitere Einsatzbereiche außerhalb der Industrie sind das Gesundheitswesen oder die öffentliche Verwaltung. Darüber hinaus bedienen sich mittlerweile auch Personaler beim Recruiting eines Matching-Algorithmus, der die Stellenausschreibung des Unternehmens mit Bewerbungen abgleicht und auf diese Weise mögliche neue Mitarbeiter herausfiltert. Tätigkeiten, die bisher von menschlichem Denken und Handeln bestimmt waren, geraten auf diese Weise immer mehr in die Hand künstlicher Intelligenz.

 

Ein Bereich, der von diesen Entwicklungen in den letzten Jahren noch nicht betroffen war, ist der Finanzdienstleistungssektor. Denn dieser ist, gerade in Zeiten der Cyberkriminalität, besonders betrugsanfällig und dementsprechend vorsichtig gegenüber neuen Technologien. Diese können nur eingeführt werden, wenn sie absolut sicher sind und das Potential haben, das Vertrauen der Kunden zu gewinnen. Finanzdienstleister dürfen dabei kein Risiko eingehen - gerade jetzt, wo sie versuchen, ihr Image wieder aufzubessern, das unter der Finanzkrise erheblich gelitten hat.

 

Finanzdienstleistung 2.0: Worauf kommt es wirklich an?

 

Dennoch spielen mittlerweile auch in Deutschland etliche Finanzdienstleistungsunternehmen - einhergehend mit der FinTech-Revolution - mit dem Gedanken, Roboter in den täglichen Service zu integrieren und über diese beispielsweise Online-Banking-Geschäfte abwickeln zu lassen. Doch möchten Kunden tatsächlich von einem Roboter bei finanziellen Fragen beraten werden? Die sogenannten Millenials stehen Mobile Payment sowie Online-Geschäften und -Transaktionen generell zwar sehr offen gegenüber - und schon fünf Prozent nehmen heute Zahlungen über ihr mobiles Endgerät vor. Einen kompetenten Finanzdienstleister, zu dem Vertrauen aufgebaut werden kann, werden Roboter aber auch bei der Generation Y nicht ersetzen können.

 

Eine von Cognizant gerade veröffentlichte Studie kommt zu einem ähnlichen Ergebnis: Durch Datensammlung und -analyse werden, in Kombination mit künstlicher Intelligenz und maschinellem Lernen, neue Wege gefunden, Arbeit und deren Ergebnisse zu verbessern. Und auch im Finanzdienstleistungssektor wird der Einsatz von Robotern zur Steigerung der Produktivität und damit zur Verbesserung der Geschäftsergebnisse beitragen. Trotzdem werden menschliche Finanzdienstleister nach wie vor gebraucht. Denn Bankkunden sind durch ihr Vermögen in der Regel nur begrenzt abgesichert und haben einen entsprechend hohen Informationsbedarf. Kompetenzen, wie Erfahrungen, Empathie und Wissen, wie mit solchen finanziellen Situationen umzugehen ist, sind deshalb gefragt und können nur von einem menschlichen Berater erbracht werden.

 

Face-to-Face Kommunikation versus Roboter

Eine Beratung von Angesicht zu Angesicht wird es folglich auch in Zukunft geben, vor allem, wenn es um das Abheben von höheren Beträgen, größere Investitionen oder den Erwerb von Finanzprodukten geht. Aus folgenden Gründen wird ein menschlicher Berater in der Finanzdienstleistungsbranche bevorzugt:

 

  • Menschen fühlen sich normalerweise wohler, wenn sie bei einer wichtigen Entscheidung von einem Experten beraten werden, der die persönliche Situation versteht und sich in diese hineinversetzen kann. Zudem schenken Menschen einem Dienstleister, dem sie in die Augen schauen können, eher Vertrauen und Glaubwürdigkeit und treffen eine Entscheidung dementsprechend leichter.
  • Finanzdienstleistungsunternehmen haben darüber hinaus eine Rechtspflicht zu erfüllen und müssen sichergehen, dass sich Kunden über die potenziellen Auswirkungen ihrer Entscheidung bewusst sind und diese informiert treffen. Aus Kunden- und Bankenperspektive werden solche Gespräche eher ungern über einem Roboter geführt.

Finanzberatung über Video

 

Immer mehr Institutionen der Finanzdienstleistungsbranche haben mit steigenden Kosten, geringen Zinssätzen und weniger Kunden in den Niederlassungen zu kämpfen, weswegen auch in Deutschland mittlerweile jede zweite Bankfiliale schließt. Dennoch müssen sich Dienstleister die Frage stellen, wie sie profitabel bleiben und gleichzeitig zukünftig höherwertige Produkte bei erstklassigem Service verkaufen können. Denn gerade letzteres erfordert den direkten und persönlichen Kontakt zum Kunden.

 

Um diese Diskrepanz zwischen "in die Höhe schnellenden Kosten" und "mangelndem Service-Angebot" zu überwinden, wäre ein Lösungsansatz, im Finanzdienstleistungssektor vermehrt auf die Kommunikation via Video zu setzen. Der große Vorteil dabei: Der Kunde kann seinen Berater jederzeit kontaktieren und mit diesem face-to-face offene Fragen und Probleme klären - beispielsweise indem die Video-Funktion, neben der Chat und Audio-Funktion, direkt über den Browser gestartet werden kann.

 

Insbesondere Vermögensberater haben durch Video Collaboration die Chance, sehr viel mehr Produkte abzusetzen und Geschäfte abzuschließen. Jedoch geht es nicht darum, dass Finanzdienstleister bei jeder noch so kleinen Frage kontaktiert werden - vielmehr ist eine segmentierte Kommunikation das Ziel. Indem Geschäfte, wie Transaktionen über kleinere Beträge weiterhin online via Web und Apps getätigt, und größere Entscheidungen, wie der Erwerb eines Darlehens, über Video geklärt werden, sparen Unternehmen nicht nur Zeit und Kosten bei der Beratung, sie behalten zugleich ihr hohes Service-Niveau.

 

Allerdings gibt es auch bei der Finanzberatung via Video Grenzen: beispielsweise bei Geldautomaten. Denn nur die wenigsten Bankkunden haben Interesse daran, ihre finanzielle Situation zu besprechen, während einen Schritt weiter der nächste Kunde schon wartet. Das Motto sollte deshalb sein: Es geht nicht darum, den Großteil des täglichen Bankgeschäfts über Video abzuwickeln, sondern Videolösungen genau dort zu platzieren, wo diese Sinn ergeben.

 

Follow the author @Jens_Brauer

Polycom Employee

You are invited to join the #PolycomChat organised by @PolycomEurope on 19 May 2015 at 12:30 – 13:30 BST. @PolycomEurope will host an open Q&A on Twitter to answer all your questions about the use of collaboration technology in the healthcare sector.

 

Join the Q&A on the day by tweeting your questions using #PolycomChat. Alternatively, you can post your questions on our FaceBook page (if you don’t have a twitter account), or email your questions to pressoffice@polycom.com in advance. We will endeavour to answer all your questions on 19 May or otherwise be in touch with you to provide a response.

 

About #PolycomChat panel

 

Andrew Graley, EMEA Director Healthcare – Polycom, will host the Q&A with a virtual panel of experts including Mark Evans, Imerja and Veronica Southern, Independent Healthcare Consultant. The Q&A is open for customers, partners, the press, analysts and anyone with questions on technology in healthcare.

 

Andrew and the panel will answer all questions on how telehealth is having an impact on healthcare, and how technology more broadly is helping to improve healthcare processes.

  

Let’s get the conversation started!

 

Polycom Employee

On June 30th 2014 the right to request flexible working was extended to all UK employees. Immediately businesses went from needing to provide flexibility for a select few to potentially hundreds of thousands of staff.

The popularity of flexible working both for employees and employers has seen four out of five requests granted, according to Pensions Minister Steve Webb. Business leaders should consider accommodating as many requests as is practical given that flexible working is proven to reduce real estate costs and salary bills. It is also a key factor in employee recruitment and retention across the whole age range of the working population.  In this day and age, it is no surprise that a quarter of office workers would rather have a flexible working package than a pay rise.

 

 

But how can business leaders incorporate this into their future plans? The determining success factor is whether the C-Suite can push these plans beyond the boardroom and into the everyday processes of each business group. Each department has a different set of requirements and challenges, so having the right technology is the key. IT can be the centralised hub to consult both the Board and business groups on the technology their organisation—and people—need to be successful.

Everyone from finance to facilities needs to be more collaborative to support flexible working practices that contribute to the overall growth and productivity of the business.  The traditional boundaries of departments and hierarchy are now blurring in the modern enterprise, with cross-functional projects and processes becoming the norm. IT becomes the lynch pin to success, bridging the gap between the Board and business group leaders while planning for and deploying solutions that connect employees, improve productivity and foster innovation.

 

The C-Suite

Technology will facilitate the new wave of flexible working, but it must be integrated into business processes for it to be a help rather than a hindrance. It’s critical that any solutions are integrated and interoperable with the process specific solutions across the full range of business functions to avoid employees finding their own workarounds to compatibility issues.

For employees to be effective when working flexibly the entire IT ecosystem needs to work seamlessly regardless of the physical location of the person. Investing in communication and collaboration technologies which facilitates remote working will be key to maintaining productivity in the modern, flexible enterprise. And the collaboration of the C-Suite will be vital to achieving this. Flexibility needs to extend beyond location into working practices and business leaders must be prepared to be flexible and incorporate the needs of other business functions into their IT planning.

“IT innovations play an increasingly critical role in the ways we interact and collaborate with each other. The penetration of IT in the business world has improved the way that businesses are conducted and the power now lies in the IT leaders’ hands to drive the innovation further throughout the organisation”, says Dr Carsten Sørensen, Reader (Associate Professor) in Digital Innovation at The London School of Econ....

 

Human Resources

From HR’s perspective, the increasing number of flexible working requests means that a formalised process for dealing with these as well as a clear company policy is essential.

For the first time ever, the workforce spans five generations. The average enterprise has to incorporate a diverse set of needs; millennials want to work differently to baby boomers. Flexible working reflects this, as it is about adapting work to the individual, not the other way round. This employee-centric approach is becoming the norm, and the expectation of workers so must be considered by management.

To satisfy everyone, the right technology will be vital. For its part, HR will need to consider guidelines and policies around the use and care of this technology. Employees will need a clear set of instructions as to how to conduct their own workspace health and safety check in their home office. Rules around accessing and storing files and services remotely will need to be drafted in conjunction with the IT department. In fact, HR will need to work more closely than ever with IT to implement infrastructure and solutions to support flexible working policies.

 

 

Facilities management

To be competitive in today’s world, the modern workforce needs to be truly flexible, which means addressing both time and location. It can mean working from home or remotely, but it also means having a variety of environments onsite to serve different purposes.

Breakout rooms, open plan workspaces, work pods, and traditional meetings rooms are all examples that facilities management must consider when designing the best possible collaborative workspaces.

Flexibility can be achieved through technology. Remote working requires access to files and programmes from anywhere, the modern enterprise needs to consider the cloud whether private or public, proprietary or ‘as-a-Service’. Video conferencing can allow your workforce to reduce their travel time and improve their productivity. One facilities manager can service several sites through telepresence negating the need to have a manager for each location.

The proliferation of new technologies means that there is a danger of fragmentation. Unified communications is a key consideration for facilities, as it allows them to ‘plug’ their physical locations into a wider network of locations, including virtual meeting rooms. These flexible workplaces have higher usage rates through unified communications as a consistent interface simplifies it for the user.

In order for facilities management to create a flexible workplace, it requires close collaboration with the IT function to implement the technology solutions and integrate them into the wider infrastructure. This collaboration will reduce the risk of shadow IT projects that sit in silos.

Facilities management will also need to align with HR to draft policies for the usage of these flexible workspaces. Lastly, they will need to liaise with Finance to make budget available for these strategic projects.

 

Marketing, sales & customer services

 In the past sales and marketing department this often had to be visible at their desk from nine till five. This was partially due to the need to be on an internal network to access business critical systems including CRM tools, as well as the need to be next to a desk phone connected to an on premise PBX system. The advent of cloud-based solutions and Voice over IP (VoIP) means that your sales team can be more flexible in terms of location, as they can access these systems from anywhere.

In an increasingly digital world, marketing and sales use IT solutions to complete almost every business process. CRM tools, marketing automation, web platforms and production, reporting and tracking are all now digitised, partially due to the improved productivity but also because it is easier and more accurate to extract and analyse data from digital sources in order to measure ROI and improve performance. If you invest in these solutions ‘as a Service’ your employees can access them from anywhere. This provides the obvious benefit in that the sales team do not need to return to the office between meetings, but it also allows you to improve your external communications. If key customer contacts can access the full spectrum of communications tools remotely, for example through UC as a Service, then they move beyond email and phone calls. Modern consumers expect to be able to communicate with businesses in a variety of ways including instant chat functions which are built into your corporate website, video communications and social media. All of these solutions and systems need to be interoperable and seamless today, which means that marketing, sales and customer services need to work closely with IT to implement and integrate them into their processes.

 

Information Technology

The CIO and his team’s digital skills have never been more in demand, but it’s no longer just about adjusting equipment. IT needs to be a trusted advisor on the right solution for each business function, and help them to integrate the right technology to facilitate flexible working for their team. IT becomes a consultative function, the IT team will have less need to be physically present and can also take advantage of flexible working, including working remotely.

Flexible working often comes hand-in-hand with BYOD. It’s important that IT have a strategy in place to maintain services and security across a range of devices and operating systems. In the modern enterprise employees will often use their personal devices for work even without an official BYOD policy, which can cause security and accountability issues. It is worth investing the time and resources in collaborating with the appropriate business leaders to ensure policies, guidelines and provisions are in place to support your employees. Investing in the right technology will drive growth and productivity even with staff working flexibly, research shows that employees equipped with video conferencing are up to 39 percent more productive when working remotely.

Whatever the needs of your business, and whichever technologies you choose to implement, the CIO will need to retain a strategic overview of all of these new solutions. Without a centralised function monitoring the interoperability, simplicity of use and adoption rates of new technologies, an influx of shadow IT is a danger for any organisation. The IT function as a whole will need to get out of the back office and into the boardroom in order to understand the requirements and challenges of each business function so that they can be effective advisors to the business from the C-Suite down.

It is clear that a digital economy calls for a digital enterprise, and this means the integration of IT across all fu.... IT must not only get out of the back office and into the boardroom, it must also think of itself and its advice as indispensable when it comes to making strategic infrastructure decisions.

Rob: Many employees feel that they have too many meetings already - isn't video collaboration just a way to hold meetings remotely?

 

Roger: "It's not that employees have too many meetings; that's a function of business culture. Organisations still have to be smart about time management; however; video collaboration can make necessary meetings more productive. In the UK alone time wasted being unproductive in meetings is estimated to cost the economy £26 billion every year. That's because of the 4 hours the average worker spends in meetings a week, 2 hours 39 minutes of this time is wasted. This is down to travel time, waiting for rooms when the previous meeting runs over, waiting for latecomers etc. Workers can be more productive when they don't have to physically go to a meeting room and wait for a meeting to start. When dialling into a meeting room from your desk you can continue to work right up until the moment the meeting starts.

 

Video as a medium also speeds up the meeting process. Essentially, meetings are a way to reach consensus on issues and make decisions. In our recent research, more than 80 percent of those using video collaboration said they experience faster decision making. The ability to launch a group video collaboration anytime, anywhere means no more long, convoluted email trails as a preamble to a lengthy meeting. And of course both remote and external participants can join easily, so that the group can be effective and efficient. Video collaboration promotes smarter and faster decision-making."

 

It is clear that for video to effectively change the way people work, share information and make decisions to be more efficient, more people, in fact pretty much all employees would need to be using it. The reality is that in many organisations, video conferencing usage exists only in pockets; either the walnut veneered boardroom, certain team meeting rooms or on privileged desktops. This seems oddly restrictive when so many have become so accustomed to advanced communications, including video, as consumers.

However, the research also indicated that some organisations had a much more progressive attitude than others. In these, video conferencing usage had become accepted, normalised like using the phone and very widely adopted. So what makes them different?

 

Rob: What do you think are the characteristics of an adoptive video culture?

 

Roger: "Organisations with a high percentage of digital natives and millennials will see a video culture develop rapidly. This is because these workers are more used to using video in their personal lives, with consumer solutions such as Skype and FaceTime.

However, there are other key factors. Organisations that are constantly revisiting process and policy in pursuit of improvement adapt and evolve more quickly. Those organisations where IT is a more active participant at C-level will see video collaboration integrated into business processes and therefore adopted quickly too. Having IT advise lines of business leaders on integration of video collaboration drives adoption from the top down.

In order to foster a bottom-up movement in terms of video adoption it's important to develop a more democratic work environment where employees feel empowered to run with the tools provided. This means making video for all, not just managers. Dissolving hierarchical access limitations is absolutely essential."

 

The research backs up these comments. The video conferencing industry has progressed through several stages of evolution, with the perceptions from some earlier hang-ups lingering a little longer than necessary. The technology needed to mature to become easier to use and more reliable, and networks needed to grow in capacity to support higher definition video. This has largely happened, with perhaps the odd rough edges in usability still needing some polish.

 

The next steps involve non-technical challenges such as social, psychological and political (the internal politics of management) acceptance. These influence the culture in the workplace and attitudes to how people communication. Getting them right will bring greater adoption and should lead to the intended goal - more effective communication. To read more about video adoption, download this free report.

 

This Blog was first published on ComputerWeekly.com 

Rob Bamforth appears courtesy of Quocirca

When you are a first-time mom, it seems like everyone has a pearl of wisdom to share with you. From teething remedies to proper car seat installation, my friends, coworkers and family members had advice on every topic imaginable. But when the time finally came to head back to work and leave my newborn, Jacob, no single tip or trick made me feel at ease. How would I balance my baby with my career? Well, with Mother’s Day approaching, and well into my first year in motherhood, it’s my turn to hand off some advice to all the moms out there.

 

Thank You Picture.jpeg

 

Video is your friend.

 

Working in an environment that champions video, I’ve always had the flexibility to telecommute. But never have I appreciated it more than these past eight months. Here’s why:

 

  • It’s a time saver. Every moment is precious and I know that sometimes moms wish there were 28 hours in a day so we could get everything done. By using videoconferencing, there’s no commute, which means I am saving a lot of time. This extra hour I have in my day can be used however I want: cooking dinner with my husband (occasionally), meeting up with a girlfriend (rarely), or getting some extra snuggle time with Jacob (regularly). 

 

  • My position requires a bit of travel and I was hesitant at first about leaving Jacob.  However, thanks to video (specifically RealPresence Mobile) we have found ways to make it manageable. My husband Andrew and I chat about our day and I get in my “mom time” with Jacob, the best of both worlds – doing what I need to do for my job while spending quality time with the family. It definitely helps curb homesickness.

 

  • By using video to connect with coworkers, I was able to ease in and out of maternity leave seamlessly. The way that I interacted via video remained consistent from before and after I had Jacob. In fact, the transition was so seamless that some of my coworkers never even realized I was pregnant! They were accustomed to seeing my face day in and day out, but it was hard for them to believe their eyes when I finally stood up to show them my growing belly.

Polycom blog.jpg

 

Polycom has tons of mothers (and grandmothers) in its workforce and I can guarantee that video conferencing has made a significant impact on their lives and balancing family and career. Do any other Moms out there have tips or advice they can share? Please share them with us by leaving a comment below. Happy Mother’s Day!

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