The Importance of Business Communication Software in 2020 | Hacker Noon

@JHUMJosh Hummerston

Marketing Oak Engage

Business communication software. It’s the beating heart of the world’s most successful and enduring organizations. Gradually introducing itself into the workplace over the course of a few decades, this sort of technology has become more indispensable to our working lives than ever before. From Zoom, to Microsoft Teams, we’re incredibly reliant on communications software to help us stay connected and maintain productivity on a day-to-day basis.

A Growing Reliance on Business Communication Software

Working behind the scenes at Oak Engage, I know just how much software continues to play an integral part in keeping businesses (and people) firing on all cylinders – especially now. Whilst effective communication has always been vital to the success of any workplace, the last few years have seen a boom in the number of platforms like Slack and Facebook’s Workplace.

Whilst this boom may be indicative of how the corporate conglomerate are now wise to the value of effective communication, it paints a much bigger picture – one that sees how employee productivity and communication are inextricably linked. Good workplace communication is key to the success of any business, (that and a semi-functioning coffee machine of course) so having the right tools in place to facilitate communication is vital. 
 
In any business, communication can take on a variety of shapes and sizes. From internal lateral communication among employees to internal upward communication with superiors, there’s a lot to consider and an awful lot to get right. Effective business communication isn’t simple. As well as the various office politics involved, there are many layers that contribute to an intricate and often bewildering tapestry of communication do’s and don’ts. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be so complicated.

Since the introduction of integrated communication tech in the last decade, effective communication has become much more tangible. Presenting virtually unlimited possibilities of ways to connect and communicate with one another on a variety of different levels, revolutionary software has changed the face of communication in the workplace forever. With a new generation of business communication software leading the proverbial charge, it’s time for businesses everywhere to take note and adopt change.

A Necessary Evolution  

Evolving off the back of its less efficient predecessors – email being the most obvious offender – business communication software completely redefined how we work, interact with one another and embrace technology within the workplace. From instant messenger to collaboration facilities, workplaces empower businesses to be more efficient and practical than ever before.  
 
Of course, technology has defined much of today’s professional landscape. Over several decades, various tools, interfaces and platforms have been created independently of one another to achieve their own specific outcomes whether we wanted them or not.

 Many builds were developed out of a perceived desire, rather than listening to what customers actually needed.

Melissa Perri’s ‘The Build Trap’, outlines how many developers (through no fault of their own) got caught in an endless cycle of developing tools and applications simply for the sake of doing so. New builds were oriented around numbers, rather than achieving any semblance of customer satisfaction. This overall lack of governance and cohesion led to a messy and unaligned experience for workforces worldwide. Tools worked independently, rather than one comprehensive and intuitive work-based application. 
 
Thankfully, times have changed, and the industry has evolved into a much more service-oriented operation. Because of this, so many new software solutions and workplace tools are developed to address a much more comprehensive list of problems faced by customers.

No longer are tools designed to achieve one specific outcome, but several (if not dozens). Many modern business communication software tools are in fact holistic solutions with the capacity to facilitate not only communicative functions, but collaborative and engagement orientated ones too. What a time to be alive!

Business Communication Software: The Unsung Hero

So it’s pretty clear right? Business communication software evolved out of a necessity to resolve problems that just weren’t getting the attention they deserved. They’re the quintessential tech hero of the 21st century, right? Everybody’s should be using one. Unfortunately, not quite. 

Whether a company decides that they should entertain the thought of helping their employees improve communication is another matter entirely. At any company, budgets are usually a bit of a contentious issue. Some think that you’re spending too much whilst others think you’re spending too little. It’s all subjective (well, most of the time anyway). Sometimes, it’s blatantly obvious that the most fundamental elements necessary to driving business success are well and truly neglected.

Being frugal is a great quality; it cuts costs and reduces unnecessary expenditure. It can prove a problem, however, if thriftiness is done so at the expense of employees’ well being and productivity. Employee communication is often thought as immeasurable and soon cast aside by those clutching tightest at the purse strings. 

The Problem With ROI

Rightly or wrongly, budgets are placed on a fairly tight leash from the off, mostly for fear of a lack of return on investment. The fact of the matter is, in the business world, money and budgets should be thought of as nothing but tools to be used to help us achieve our goals. Whilst of course, no one would advocate spending money indiscriminately without any insight or tactic, you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment and see what works to help you achieve your objectives.  

Whilst investing money into business communication software may not seem like something that can offer a guarantee for an immediate return, it will in the long run, impact the amount of money you make, either directly or indirectly.

Even then, why should businesses be so eager to spend money on employees and business communication software? Employees are already being paid to do their job – surely that’s enough? But if you want to make a real difference in employee engagement and communication within your business, the importance of effective communication cannot be overstated. A team is only as good as the tools they use and the environment in which they operate.  
 
Any business, anywhere in the world is at the mercy of its own culpability. Its own poor practice – in any capacity – can result in failings across the board. Communication is one such element that while essential to the success of a business, is often neglected in favor of other priorities. A failure to neglect communication, and staff engagement business can often have severe implications for your business’s growth and scalability. 

The Benefits of Better Business Communication Software

So, just how is business communication software helping companies take it up a notch? Here are five ways in which the right communication tools can help your team.

1. More Efficient Work Processes 

When your teammates communicate effectively with one another, they work better together and as a result, much more efficiently. Poor communication places barriers where there shouldn’t be. It can mean costly mistakes and a lack of alignment, even from your best people. 

By being able to communicate ideas, procedures and important information instantly, from wherever you are, misinformation becomes far less prevalent and internal processes are followed more stringently.  

2. Increased Productivity 

Better communication means less time spent trying to circumvent bad communication. Business communication software enables employees to talk to each other instantly and not have to spend time wading through their inbox or replying to complicated email chains. Connection is instant, meaning that your team can collaborate with one another in real-time and more effectively. Increased productivity is an instant win for any business.

3. Workplace Flexibility 

As you’re no doubt aware, the ways in which we work have changed forever. This is why it’s now imperative that businesses everywhere embrace technology as a means to facilitate remote working either on the road, in the office or at home. Communication has relied heavily upon the crutch of technology for quite some time – something that has become even more evident in recent times.  

4. Better engagement

Happy employees make for a more productive and engaged workforce. Disengaged employees are costing businesses over 34% of their annual salary each year. Engaged employees are more passionate about the work that they do and more inclined to go that extra mile. By supplying your team with the tools they need to do their job to the fullest extent, you are not only  paving the way for a more productive team but a happier and more positive work environment.

5. Company alignment 

Effective communication breeds clarity. With business communication software businesses are able to maintain consistent messaging between them and their people. Managers can easily provide employee feedback to staff and communicate ideas more effectively. When people are aligned with objectives and are given an incentive to perform well, the overall performance of the company can be expected to increase indefinitely.

Summary

Business communication software is part and parcel of the modern workplace. Born out of necessity (albeit slowly and in a fairly frankenstein-esque manner!) this new innovative technology has opened doors for businesses in ways that were nothing but inconceivable only 10 years ago. It’s already redefined the workplace as we know it and continues to influence and shape our perceptions of work. Whilst a rise in demand for software of this type highlights an innate need for workers to communicate effectively, it indicates that no matter how far we think we’ve come, there’s always room for improvement.

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