Welcome to Ringside. For new readers, this series asks inspiring people from all sorts of roles about their experiences in business. Beyond this, we get curious about the trends going on in tech and invite opinions on what’s going on in business communications. This time around, we catch up with Claudio Soland, SVP Global Alliances, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise.
Can you tell us a bit about your career and your role?
I have always been passionate about technology and how it can make people’s lives easier. And I have been extremely fortunate to have held several senior executive roles within Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise over the past 20 years. I spent the last ten years with different international sales executive responsibilities and had the extraordinary opportunity to exchange intensively with our customers and business partners. I successfully led our Europe South (France, Southern-Europe, MEA and Cala) Regional sales organisation for the last two years. In 2021 I had the opportunity to be the Senior Vice President of the Strategic Partnerships & Business Operations. Part of my responsibility was to drive the adoption of Rainbow Office powered by RingCentral globally and further our strong relationship with RingCentral.
The fact that businesses could maintain their activities during lockdown due to the cloud platforms they had in place demonstrates the importance of future-proofing infrastructure. Click To Tweet
How has the way businesses communicate changed since this time two years ago?
For almost two years now, the pandemic has deeply impacted business and user habits. Cloud is no longer considered just a trend and is increasingly becoming the go-to communications infrastructure for companies seeking to cater to the new working world. The fact that businesses could maintain their activities during lockdown due to the cloud communication and collaboration platforms they had in place demonstrated the importance of future-proofing infrastructure. This difficult period highlighted the importance of being agile and why mobile solutions are paramount to running smoothly.
What do you hear from businesses about how their workforces are going to operate in the future?
One thing that’s for sure is that working habits will never be the same after the pandemic. People, companies and governments are all in favour of supporting more digitalised work habits.
After several months of lockdown and social restrictions, the majority of people don’t feel like going back to the office daily. They have experienced how homeworking can bring them more balance between their personal and professional lives while also maintaining a consistent level of productivity.
From a business’ perspective, despite having gone through an extremely tough period, they could maintain their activity with the support of digitalised and cloud-native platforms. Therefore, people don’t necessarily need to be on-site to work efficiently together. And companies that had already embarked on their digital transformation journey before the pandemic found themselves with a considerable competitive advantage.
From a government and public policy perspective, we also noticed several governments introducing new laws to support businesses that wanted to make homeworking a new standard.
In several countries, like France, working habits have since evolved, and in several cases, people will not return to working from the office full time. Flexible working, UCaaS solutions and digitalisation will become more and more important in our daily lives.
The key to success is giving all your employees what they need to be productive, irrespective of location. Click To Tweet
If you could share one piece of advice to help organisations build a long-term business communications strategy post-pandemic, what would that be?
Whether organisations opt to permit or prevent home working as a new standard moving forward, what is certain is that today we have several different ways to communicate.
Organisations must define a clear communications strategy to frame capabilities, or their employees will find their own way to collaborate with colleagues and customers. This causes issues like ‘shadow IT’, which leads to a headache for IT managers. Using multiple apps also means employees will continue losing time switching between solutions.
Companies also need to offer modern and innovative communication tools to attract and keep new talent, especially millennials and Gen Z.
One easy win is UCaaS solutions. These typically cloud-based platforms are the best way to consolidate all communications channels and to build a consistent strategy around a unique and centralised tool providing message, video and phone, and many more essential functions. In addition to these off-the-shelf capabilities, the open nature of the more advanced platforms such as Rainbow Office powered by RingCentral means integrations with the most popular cloud apps. This type of platform gives employees to access all the useful information they need within a single place.
The key to success is giving all your employees what they need to be productive, irrespective of location. It is essential to support them to cut time spent managing different tools, gain time back and deliver more value.