Collaboration Tools for a Stay-at-Home Workforce Present Opportunities to Empower Businesses

July 14, 2020by Shaun Hurst

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We have yet to fully understand the impact that the coronavirus pandemic will have on our economy. But as non-essential businesses across the world have closed down their physical offices, we are seeing a momentous shift in our ways of working.

Collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, Slack and Zoom have soared in popularity as employees have sought to effectively manage their teams and workflows remotely. These tools are now the lifeblood keeping businesses going, bringing everything from day-to-day meetings, company-wide conferences, client calls and even business pitches into the virtual world.

This shift has been especially challenging for companies working in regulated industries. In recent years, many have been slow to enable the full functionality of these productivity tools. Long-standing compliance and data security concerns have stalled the full integration of the cutting-edge communications platforms that so many are now relying on. But as the realities of working from home have set in, businesses are finally seeing the true value of investing in these technologies and enabling their employees to use their full feature set.

As the adoption of these tools becomes the norm, heavily regulated businesses will need to ensure that their employees can use them in a compliant way. Doing this now will not only ensure that they can manage the compliance challenges facing them during the coronavirus outbreak, but it will empower them to establish new ways of working that benefit them for years to come.

Attracting the Next Generation of Workers in Financial Services

Primary among the benefits afforded by utilising these platforms is opening up companies to modern ways of working. For years, financial services and other heavily regulated industries have struggled to compete for the best and brightest millennial talent, losing out to tech companies and start-ups. According to a survey by Kronos, many millennials who started their careers in the finance sector were later drawn to tech companies for their purpose-driven work, as well as their more innovative and flexible ways of working. All heavily regulated businesses may now have the opportunity to implement the types of working practices that will attract back many of these talented employees.

Moreover, as the next generation of digitally native talent enters the workforce, there will be a growing expectation that teams will have access to the wide array of modern communications tools. Over 92% of generation-z (Gen-Z) have a digital footprint, and when you look at the most popular apps amongst young people, you see that communicating across multiple platforms comes as second nature. Whether it's Slack, Teams, or social media platforms, Gen-Z interact with each other through instant, multi-channel multi-format communication.

This will be what they demand from their working environment as well. This shift in demographics goes beyond the workforce, it impacts firms’ clients too. Heavily regulated industries that invest in the compliant use of these tools will go a long way in ensuring they can meet this generational expectation.

Communications Data Helps Inform Business Strategy and Identify Risk

With the vast majority of business activities now being carried out on these platforms, an extensive amount of data can instantly be captured. With the right technology, businesses will be able to harness this data and use it to inform better business strategy.

As working from home has become the new normal, the increase in the use of voice in collaboration tools like Zoom and Teams has been profound, especially when communicating with clients. For example, capturing and analysing voice data from client calls and sales pitches will enable businesses to detect potentially missed buy-signals, or client retention risks.

Comparing this data across hundreds of calls would provide insights that could inform sales approaches and product development. Analysis of internal voice communications will also be able to give businesses a clear picture of effective collaboration between teams and the efficiency of specific projects and functions.

More business activity happening through virtual meetings will also mean better supervision and e-discovery controls. Given the complexity and data volume associated with new collaborative and conferencing technologies, the selection of the appropriate compliance technology platform is now more important than ever. Firms need to have a unified view of employees and their content sources, in order to address the requirements outlined in MiFID II and elsewhere.

Voice and other electronic communications should be indexed, normalized and enabled for high-speed search. This is important not only within the platform itself. This data must also be captured in a manner that can feed other downstream applications such as content surveillance and AI/ML tools to gain further visibility into risk and opportunities for service enhancement.

Adapting to Modern Communication Means Innovation

The coronavirus outbreak will undoubtedly negatively impact businesses across the world. But from chaos and uncertainty comes innovation. Having been slow to adopt modern communications channels, heavily regulated businesses have been forced to adapt in order to survive.

Adopting cutting-edge collaboration tools and ensuring their employees can use them compliantly will empower businesses long after the coronavirus outbreak. Whether it’s attracting the next generation of talent or harnessing data to better inform business strategy, the solutions that businesses invest in now will enable modern ways of working for years to come.

Join us for our next Innovation Exchange webinar: "On-the-Go Workforce: How to Stay Compliant With Mobile"

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Shaun Hurst
Smarsh Blog

Our internal subject matter experts and our network of external industry experts are featured with insights into the technology and industry trends that affect your electronic communications compliance initiatives. Sign up to benefit from their deep understanding, tips and best practices regarding how your company can manage compliance risk while unlocking the business value of your communications data.

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