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You Have 99 Problems, but Information Isn’t One of Them

Digital communications platforms have the power to transform organizations. They enable companies to efficiently collect, process, and deliver targeted information to customers and employees on any screen. Digital communications drive action and help deliver results by connecting an organization's two most valuable assets: people and data. Using digital communications organizations can solve problems in ten different areas, from safety to culture to customer experience. Safety The safety of customers, employees, and visitors is an essential concern for all organizations. By providing timely information to employees, customers, and visitors businesses can protect their well-being and welfare. Digital communications can improve awareness and enhance emergency preparedness, through real-time alerts on any screen. Additionally, digital communication can provide periodic updates on the status of an emergency situation to keep those affected informed of what is going on. Compliance Businesses must take the precautions required to manage compliance and communications both within their organizations and with outside parties. From FDA compliance in restaurants to ADA compliance to health and safety regulations, companies must keep up with changing rules and regulations. A robust digital communications platform can help in this effort, allowing businesses to meet regulatory requirements, improve communication with employees and customers, reduce costs, and manage complexity. Employee Engagement Delivering information has always been essential to running a business. However, traditional channels like paper memos, emails, and company newsletters are no longer effective. In fact, they can negatively impact employee engagement. On the other hand, digital communications deliver the right information to the right people at the right time. Real-time Information empowers employees to make better business decisions more quickly. This information can include key performance indicators (KPIs), news, weather, and emergency notifications. You can also share more evergreen content reinforcing goals, creating awareness of policies and values, and highlighting customer success stories. By delivering information to a variety of devices, employees become more likely to check in often, even after hours or when working remotely. This emphasis on digital communications is affecting employee engagement. A recent Gallup study found that 34% of US workers are engaged, the highest proportion in Gallup’s history. This relatively modest number, however, indicates the untapped potential in reaching the majority of the workforce. Gallup researchers found that work units in the top quartile in employee engagement outperformed bottom-quartile units by 10% on customer ratings, 22% in profitability, and 21% in productivity. Productivity Organizations dedicate significant time, resources, and money to collecting and securing their data. Unfortunately, much of this data sits unused because it’s challenging to search and retrieve. With a powerful digital communications platform data can be easily accessed and used strategically. The result is increased productivity, improved decision making, and better company performance. Digital communications help increase efficiency with visual dashboards and KPI screens while reducing errors by empowering employees with key information and stats. The business case for creating a digital workplace is compelling. The Harvard Business Review reported that organizations with strong online social networks are 7% more productive than those without these tools. McKinsey Global Institute recently found that using social technologies to enhance communications, knowledge sharing, and collaboration had the potential to raise the productivity of high-skill knowledge workers by 20-25%. A digital workspace that easily connects employees with data from any location is a powerful way to increase productivity. Culture From platforms like Skype to digital signage to mobile devices, digital communications are having a profound impact on organizational culture. Emails, printed memos, and even intranet sites are no longer meeting employee expectations. They want personalized real-time information where and when they need it. By embracing digital communications companies can reduce communication barriers, improve productivity and enhance company culture. Many studies have highlighted the significant benefits transparency and knowledge sharing have on the workplace. In an era when many companies have a dispersed workforce communication has become paramount to the success of the business. Costs In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, margins are tighter than ever. Real-time monitoring and communication across the business can be made more efficient and cost effective by leveraging digital communications on screens across the organization. Screens can provide real-time production alerts and metrics, enable dynamic inventory location and monitoring, and optimize inventory levels. Using digital communications also eliminates the costs associated with distributing and updating print media. Finally, these platforms allow employees to monitor operations and compare them to key targets and statistics. Employees can quickly find the source of a given problem and access useful data to make better decisions, eliminating wasted dollars. Revenue Digital communications not only reduces costs it can drive revenue growth. Providing employees access to tools that aids decision-making empowers them to make smarter choices backed by information. This information might include real-time operations and market results, as well as increased awareness of competitor’s product offerings or services. With digital communications organizations can make timely adjustments to plans and campaigns to meet the changing needs of their customers, raise awareness of product offerings or services, improve sales through cross-selling and upselling, and drive revenues with advertising sales and promotional messaging. Customer Experience Strengthening the relationship with an existing customer is an easier way to increase sales than signing a new customer. Digital communications provide a powerful tool for gathering information on your existing customers and engaging them with relevant real-time information on any screen. In an airport this might include location-based information such as arrival and departure times, cancellations, and delays. For retail customers, digital communications help employees provide better customer service by linking inventory and POS to show what is available. In a service industry, visitors can get real-time updates on their place in line and be entertained with news, weather, and other content while they wait. Finally, in any business digital screens can be used to help visitors quickly navigate through buildings with interactive wayfinding or to help themselves using a self-service kiosk. Information Management In business today, there’s no shortage of data but it is only valuable when employees use it to make decisions. However, ways to effectively manage information are in short supply. An effective digital communications platform enables an organization to collect, distribute and present information across a network of screens from one central location. It empowers employees by allowing them to update and make changes to digital communications content without help from the IT department.  Software and Technology Each organization needs to decide which information management tools are the best for its unique business needs and goals. First, a company should examine which technology it already has in place and consider how well it is serving the organizations' needs. They should evaluate solutions that fill the gaps and ensure they aren't likely to become quickly outdated. Finally, it is important to choose a trusted partner that can provide installation, upgrades, troubleshooting, and security to make the most out of the investment.

Higher Ed Experience Expectations Rise With The Digital Era

Millenials are all about being social and communicating; as heavily evidenced by social media. This is difficult in post secondary institutions, which can be geographically enormous – some even requiring a bus to get from one side to the other. In addition to campus size, communication becomes more difficult when students are divided into different ‘colleges’, acting as silos that do not allow for easy interaction. Taking these obstacles into consideration, it is no wonder students often have no idea what is happening at their own college or university. Lucky for them, digital communication platforms provide a solution to this problem. In part one, we discussed how digital communications assist in transportation, emergency notifications, and finding a study spot. Let’s take a look at some more situations where digital transformation can further assist in creating a healthy and engaged school community. Let’s Go Gryphs! When selecting a post secondary institution, young adults are very interested in the experience they will have throughout their time there. Hours upon hours go into researching colleges and universities to find the perfect fit. Publishers such as Business Insider consistently rate schools based on their school spirit, since it such a distinguishing aspect of campus culture. In Canada, Queens university is one of the most sought after universities. It is no coincidence it also happens to be ranked highest in school spirit. Through digital communication platforms, institutions can increase school spirit by hyping up events, amplifying student voices, and engaging students. With such platforms now having the ability to reach any device; video wall, TV screen, cellular phone, etc., this allows for a broader reach. Giving this tool to student bodies such as clubs and associations, allows them to better inform other students of activities being run around campus. For example, when the annual pep rally comes around, each team can show off their creative attempts to hold the most school spirit. Videos can be updated in real-time, play on a loop, or even be live streamed. This would allow the entire campus to remain involved even if they are unable to attend. We Won School pride fuels school spirit, so showcasing achievements is crucial. There is always room for improvement in this area. For example, at the university I attend, the only achievements we hear about are those of the football team, or if the university is in the news. On the education side, there is tons of research being conducted by students and faculty, yet if you walk around campus and ask anyone what awards the university has won recently for research, not one student could answer the question. Sports can also fall in a similar category. Besides football, there is no talk of any other sports unless you visit the athletics website. There you can find that the university is consistently winning awards for multiple sports. Showcasing these achievements increases campus moral, adds to campus culture, and allows school pride to thrive. Who Doesn’t Love The Buzz? Students love a campus that is always buzzing. It makes them feel as though they are part of something bigger; a community. In order to create this buzz, it is the institution that is tasked with creating events, or supporting clubs that will do so. Implementing a digital communications platform that helps increase the buzz is a must for every post-secondary institution. Many of these platforms can integrate with real-time data, making it is easier than ever to produce a large buzz. For example, countless hours go into planning an executing campaigns for the next student body president. When voting day comes around, digital platforms make it easy to showcase real time voting polls as they rise. Candidates must meet quorum in order to qualify, so if not enough buzz is generated this can be very difficult for candidates. By showcasing real-time poles, students are more likely to participate in the voting process, and feel as though they are actively contributing to their community. Let’s Talk Revenue Post secondary institutions are a business, and contain multiple different sources of revenue throughout campus. This can include anything from the coffee shop to bookstore, to cafeteria or gift shop. As it stands, these operations currently showcase their promotions through 8 ½ x 11 paper posters randomly plastered in buildings around campus. This requires time and money on behalf of each individual operation to create the poster, print it off, and walk around taping it to the walls. Not to mention, what if there is an unnoticed error on the poster, or the promotion needs to suddenly be adjusted? This again would require an employee taking time out of their day to adjust each individual poster by hand. A digital communications platform would allow an individual to fix a mistake, or adjust a number, on every single deployment with simply a click of a button. As well, different information and promotions could be shown in different areas, the digital signs could rotate through a number of different ads, or promotions could be set to run at certain times of day. This can be very useful for menu boards as well. Prices need to be adjusted? Click of a button. New menu item? Click of a button. Ran out of an item? Click of a button. A lot simpler than asking the graphic artist to redesign the entire board and getting a new sign printed! Another useful use case for campus operations is simply promoting menu items. At my university, there are certain cafeterias that have different meal items everyday. The chefs not only put time into preparing a weekly menu, but also preparing the lovely dishes. Most students will go home to eat their meals since they become tired of the same old Subway of Pizza Pizza. Don’t be fooled, they can be tempted. If they’re leaving the library and see some mouth watering tacos or roast beef pop up on a screen, you can be sure they’re going to change their plans and stay on campus for lunch. Voila, instant revenue. Same goes for the gift shop, nobody plans to go to the gift shop unless it’s Homecoming or Christmas. That is, unless a flash sale comes along. If a student is using a school computer or mobile phone, and a quick notification pops up that the gift shop is having a 50% off sale today, that student is definitely stopping in on their way home. Attentive post secondary officials are aware of how important ‘the experience’ is to students. Whether choosing a college or university, this is their second largest consideration next to academics. It is important that officials continue to build upon the experience they provide to students, and move forward with new technologies to remain competitive in the digital era.
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