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Race Against the Machine: Actionable Steps for Surviving the Digital Revolution

By Shabtai Adlersberg, President and CEO of AudioCodes

Desperate times call for speedy measures. Companies around the world are rapidly adapting to remote work. Staying connected, while working remotely, relies on digital technology to create a digital workplace. This shift in the way companies operate is referred to as digital transformation.

Our company has had the privilege of doing so over time while others need to take big steps to quickly catch up while ensuring their business can keep running and providing services. This process will boost employee efficiency and the company’s overall performance.

In Microsoft’s Q1 report, issued April 30th of this year, Satya Nadella wrote: “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months. From remote teamwork and learning, to sales and customer service, to critical cloud infrastructure and security—we are working alongside customers every day to help them adapt and stay open for business in a world of remote everything.” 

Now is the best time to accelerate the incorporation of new technology to address your company’s growing internal and external needs. We’ve put together some advice based on our personal experience.

Creating a “new normal” for your business

The “new normal” created by the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping all organizations. Nadella states “more than 200 million meeting participants in a single day this month, generating more than 4.1 billion meeting minutes. Teams now has more than 75 million daily active users, engaging in rich forms of communication and collaboration.”

Through digital transformation, businesses can boost efficiency in everything, from team meetings to streamlining individual tasks to improving global productivity with assistance of a digital workspace. There are a number of companies working on multiple communications modalities within a single shared digital workspace — integrating them all into one to create more efficient workflows. Some are incorporating AI to assist and improve these services.

Keep in mind that your business must find the tools best suited to its purposes. You can draw inspiration from the way healthcare services acted as first responders in finding technological solutions to overcome the new working conditions that incorporated available digital technology to stay connected, collaborate, and save lives. According to Microsoft, in April, 2020, healthcare services held more than 34 million meetings in Microsoft Teams.

Other leading enterprises continue to partially work from home offices using digital tools. They’ve swiftly integrated future rollouts ahead of schedule and many are open about their digital transformation process and the tools they use.

Staying connected through unified communications and collaboration

Since the pandemic hit, and with businesses shifting online, Google searches for “unified communications” have doubled in the US. This is a significant shift. Communication and collaboration are now top-of-mind. Businesses are seeking to streamline communication in an accessible way as a means of retaining valuable human insights these interactions often yield.

Your company may have looked at communication and collaboration systems in the past and considered doing without them, but now more than ever it’s a necessity, not a privilege. Take decisive action and onboard your company. Our experience shows this investment generating immediate rewards in terms of worker productivity and morale. 

Focus on video and audio to streamline productivity 

Video and audio calls have jumped into the spotlight in recent months. No longer tools relegated to distance meetings with clients or satellite offices, they’ve become the de facto norm while a massive percentage of the workforce adapts to a new normal, sheltered in place. But even these solutions aren’t quite as plug-and-play as one would assume, at least not for those looking to maintain a professional appearance.

First and foremost, consider the internet connection. If it’s slow or unstable, video isn’t doing you any favors. Opt for an audio call. Boosting sound quality, in these cases, is paramount. Look past the built-in microphone and instead invest in a simple microphone, or headset. Nearly any third-party microphone, even most of the cheaper options, provide marked improvement.

The same can be said for the camera. As laptops get smaller, and space becomes more limited, webcams aren’t exactly experiencing the same sort of technological breakthroughs as the camera in your phone. Opt for a third-party solution and be sure to enable it during your next video call (as most PCs default to the built-in webcam). 

Boost morale by boosting transparency

Today, we are lacking traditional means of collaboration and water-cooler moments. Those who have long worked remotely understand that these interactions were, in essence, natural moments for building connections. Not having them often leads to missed opportunities.

We’ve found that promoting transparency across the company improves team engagement and morale. Create a new system for more collaboration and sharing – via email, video calls, phone calls, email, internal chats, file sharing, or otherwise. Share your priorities with employees and provide a platform for others to share wins and achievements.

A good thing to keep in mind is that all your company’s workers have had some time to think and reevaluate the way they usually do things at the office, so they are likely to have insights concerning the digital workspace, what works and what doesn’t. Give individuals space to share and connect with the fast paced changes as a means of building trust, transparency and a deep sense of belonging.

The “new normal” is a catalyst in a process long overdue

Take advantage of this situation to create a better working environment. Integrate tools using AI, machine learning, and other technological developments to help your workers improve their overall performance with the assistance of a digital workspace.

Think of everyday processes that could save you and your co-workers time. Research the booming tech market for tools to automate them. Some solutions might be a finger’s tap away. Share them with your organization. If these digital tools already exist, help your company incorporate them. If not, perhaps your company can create new ones as a means of streamlining collaborative work.

Digital transformation may be taking off at the speed of sound, but this is only the beginning. It’s time to listen to advice and create the new structure your company needs to maximize productivity and avoid being left behind.

About Shabtai:

Shabtai Adlersberg, President and CEO of AudioCodes, co-founded AudioCodes in 1993, and has served as Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer since inception. Audiocodes is a leading vendor of advanced voice networking and media processing solutions for the digital workplace. Shabtai holds an M.Sc. in Electronics and Computer Engineering from Tel Aviv University and a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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