Business Today

Communication is collaboration

Communications is the glue that holds organisations together and it is also the electricity that powers up a place.

twitter-logo Manu Kaushik        Print Edition: July 13, 2008

Merely talking won’t do—communication, to be effective, has to be collaborative. The question, of how an organisation can enable a secure communication environment to empower itself, was brainstormed at the Business Today Managing Tomorrow Series panel discussion on Enabling Trustworthy Communication to Empower the Enterprise in Delhi on June 5, 2008.

The panellists: (from L to R) Tomohiro Yagi, Vice President, NEC Corporation; Amajit Gupta, Director (Communications and Media Sector), Microsoft India; Aseem Kapoor, Publishing Director, Business Today; Fraser Hickox, Consultant, Research & Technology, The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels; Arnab Mitra, Deputy Editor, Business Today; Suresh Vedula, Head (Business Mobility India) Nokia India; and Rajat Mukarji, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Idea Cellular
The panellists
Organised in association with NEC Corporation, it was led by a techsavvy panel drawn from the corporate world—Amajit Gupta, Director (Communications and Media Sector), Microsoft India; Fraser Hickox, Consultant, Research & Technology, The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels; Suresh Vedula, Head (Business Mobility India), Nokia India; and Rajat Mukarji, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Idea Cellular. The discussion was moderated by Arnab Mitra, Deputy Editor, Business Today.

Setting the ball rolling, Tomohiro Yagi, Vice President, NEC Corporation, said: “There will always be a demand for more and newer features at the fastest speed within the communication system but at a lower cost of ownership.” Taking the cue, Microsoft’s Gupta highlighted three important aspects necessary to keep an enterprise rolling—trustworthiness, communication and initiative. “Today, a standard information worker in an enterprise not only works within the team, but also with customers, vendors, suppliers beyond the boundaries of the enterprise,” tells Gupta.

Amajit Gupta Director (Communications and Media Sector), Microsoft India
Amajit Gupta
Gupta stressed on the need to reengineer the notion of communication. “Communication in itself is meaningless unless the notion of collaboration is introduced. Now is the time when communication is increasingly morphing into collaboration and the realm of empowering collaboration for enterprises includes authentication, authorisation, single sign-on, and federated security,” he added. In the hospitality industry, communications is a major ingredient of success, said Hickox, adding that technology is now centrally entrenched within an enterprise’s DNA. “Being one of the leading players in the hotel industry, we have some of the most demanding guests coming to our hotels. In the past, we have spent a lot of money on installing fancy telephone systems.

Suresh Vedula, Head (Business Mobility India), Nokia India
Suresh Vedula
However, we found them redundant as most young people visiting our hotels used Wi-Fi-enabled phones,” he recalled. The new generation, as Hickox observed, is a disruptive technology seeker and will not accept what is put in front of them; they carry the technology in their suitcases and can access to it wherever and whenever they want.

Concurring with Gupta’s pointof-view, Nokia’s Vedula said: “Gone are the days when you had silos. Today, we are required to work in virtual teams. Increased collaboration among employees, suppliers and customers is vital to the success of the organisation and that’s why we need to have an empowered enterprise,” he argued.

Fraser Hickox Consultant, Research & Technology, The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels
Fraser Hickox
Vedula asserted that companies would have to adapt themselves according to the needs and habits of the Generation Y. Besides, he added, as the workforce becomes increasingly mobile, there will need to be in place a strong device management system, which can protect data. “In short, whatever functions the CIOs of today have taken for granted in the networked wired environment, pose an entirely new headache as the entire employee base becomes mobile,” he warned.

Rajat Mukarji Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Idea Cellular
Rajat Mukarji
Speaking on the evolution of technology, Idea’s Mukarji sketched out the change it had brought into the workplace. “To ensure security, the enterprise needs to standardise its communications systems. Over the last 20-25 years, we have seen technology growing at the most incredible pace and it is this technology that has enabled enterprises to develop solutions in a trustworthy environment for the benefit of the end-user, i.e., customers,” he said.

Finally, the panellists summed up the discussion, explaining that the organisations will change the way they work taking advantage of the advances in communications technology.

The event concluded with a vote of thanks by Ashish Chadha, Associate Publisher, Business Today.

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