Embrace change, take action: Work transformation in the new economy
In times of uncertainty, it can be tempting to avoid big changes. Leaders may see rising inflation and economic volatility as signs that they should wait on implementing that digital transformation strategy.
But what if the wait-and-see approach means losing ground while other organizations keep moving forward?
For our first Work Transformation Summit of 2023, we looked at how organizations can embrace change, even when the economy is uncertain, when they’re facing increased pressures, and when they don’t have all the answers.
“What’s in front of us isn’t about finances, it’s about getting creative,” said Kelly Steckelberg, our chief financial officer. “Creativity is a necessary tool to help turn uncertainty into opportunity.”
Here are a few key takeaways from our sessions:
Innovate to navigate
Kelly discussed with Jim Maholic, an IT strategist and founder of Common Sense Strategy, how business leaders can approach their IT strategy to help prepare their organizations for economic uncertainty.
“When we come out of this inflationary period you want to be at a place where you can ramp up very quickly,” Jim said, stressing the importance of simplification and flexibility toward that goal.
“One of the key things companies can do during times when [they] have the reserves to make investments is to rationalize and simplify their IT infrastructure, so they can pivot faster and scale quicker,” Jim said. “The whole idea of the cloud being an elastic model I can expand and contract when I need to is an excellent way to manage costs.”
Jim expressed that communication and collaboration have become critical to an organization’s IT strategy, especially as organizations shift toward remote and hybrid ways of working. “The need and importance of collaboration hasn’t changed — but the method by which we do that has to be flexible,” he said.
Identify where you can make the most impact
Our next panel discussed how technology can help improve experiences for employees and customers. Zoom’s global CIO program manager, Janine Moreno, led a conversation with a few of our customers: Danny Lilley, CTO at transportation and logistics company Werner Enterprises; Edward Wagoner, CIO of digital at real estate firm JLL; and John Murphy, director of IT at Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The panelists shared how they’re using technology to make their employees’ day-to-day work more efficient, deliver more personalized education for students, or redesign physical spaces like conference rooms to enable flexibility.
They agreed that security, executive buy-in, and user experience are critical factors that tech leaders need to consider when planning their IT strategy.
“When you factor in what people are looking for and the technologies that are available, having a strategic roadmap and knowing the right way to move forward is critical,” Edward said.
Build resilient teams through insights
Conversation intelligence is a valuable tool for business leaders looking to improve efficiencies and drive sales. We took a deep dive into our conversation intelligence software, Zoom IQ for Sales, to show how it helps sales teams navigate challenges throughout the sales cycle and enhance customer experiences.
Kathy Doolaege, head of global sales operations and enablement at Zoom, discussed how Zoom IQ for Sales can provide sales leaders and their teams with feedback and insights into how they can improve their calls. She was joined by Kenny Scannell, head of Zoom IQ for Sales, who shared some of the benefits he’s seen firsthand with his own teams and customers — such as the ability to listen to customer sentiment, enhance productivity across teams, and help sales enablement work more effectively.
Analyst perspectives: work in 2023 and beyond
Joseph Chong, our head of product, solutions, and industry marketing, chatted with analysts on the future of work and trends to keep an eye on, which included hybrid work, automation, and AI.
Amy Loomis, research vice president for the future of work at IDC, and Irwin Lazar, president and principal analyst at Metrigy Research, both felt that companies will need to successfully resolve tensions around hybrid and remote work as it relates to the current economic climate.
“It’s clear that mandating people to come back to the office is not going to work,” Amy said. She described the model many organizations have adopted as “hybrid by design — but that design has to be personalized to each organization. Which technologies are going to make [your] organization most successful? It’s not one size fits all.”
Irwin added that IT leaders are addressing the need to provide equitable experiences for remote and in-person employees. “We’re starting to see interest in things like virtual whiteboard for ideation, putting touch screens in rooms to enable people who are remote to engage and enable people in the room to see the chat.”
Beneath the surface of hybrid work
What does the future of work hold for the Asia Pacific region? In our APAC region summit, Ricky Kapur, head of Asia Pacific at Zoom, noted that companies are focused on building hybrid models to maintain global connections with their colleagues and customers. He sat down with Ian Treweek, head of information communication and technology at The Disability Trust, and Dr. Jaekoo Kang, deputy of AI research at i-Scream Arts, to hear about their experiences with hybrid work.
“We are very much hybrid,” Ian said. “It’s making a big difference toward work-life balance with people being able to focus on their work. I can have a team that’s working at all different hours and that delivers a better service to the business while allowing a bit of work flexibility.”
“We think this new type of work can bring many employees together regardless of geological or time-delayed constraints,” Jaekoo added. “Without those constraints, we may have more continuity and connectedness. Different tools can accelerate that process — online platforms such as Zoom can connect online and offline together seamlessly.”
Bringing these lessons into focus
Kelly offered three takeaways that leaders can apply to their digital strategies for 2023:
- Identify what your people and customers need now to stay resilient and engaged
- Review where you are currently in your digital transformation journey
- Get clear on what areas need to be reimagined for greater impact
Whatever the new year may bring, we hope the conversations from our Work Transformation Summit help you address challenges and seize opportunities to grow. Watch the summit on demand to learn from leaders and peers how you can navigate change, weather uncertain times, and provide better experiences for your customers and employees.