In this blog post I’d like to explain how changes in the make-up of the workforce and tighter financial demands on businesses will drive real changes in how users communicate across the enterprise in 2012, ranging from the social imperative to cloud delivery.

1. The social imperative

For the first time, enterprises now seriously have three different generations working together across the enterprise: the Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y. They have different user behaviours, and we need to reconcile all of these different habits into a single unified multimedia enterprise communication platform for email, instant messages, video and social networking.

2. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

In order to meet the expectations of our mixed generation workforce in 2012 with their different expectations, enterprises need to understand that, alongside existing laptops and desk phones, we are now also encountering the increased consumerisation of the enterprise, and therefore need the network to be able to deal with any device, from smartphones to tablets. Enterprises need to deliver the same user experience regardless of which device is chosen.

3. Creating mashup applications

Business, customer service and unified communications applications are still siloed and are often run independently from one another. Users need to be able to manage these multiple applications through a single unified interface, ensuring that they interact with one another and providing the user with a consistent experience over any device.

4. Convergence

All this means that enterprises will have to start moving to a more converged architecture for both network and application deployment, to deliver any application over any network, and do so through any of the user’s devices.

5. Deployment and the inevitable shift to cloud

The need to improve the overall user experience – based on any application on any network using any device – combined with the need for enterprises to shift to more cost effective costs models is moving enterprises towards the cloud-based Opex model as well as the Capex model for financing IT purchases. And this will inevitably change the specification of their communications infrastructure. Network infrastructure providers have to be able to provide organisations with the technical and commercial support to deploy communication solutions in any model they want – on-site, hosted, outsourced, or any combination of these.