How SA companies can use the cloud to drive employee enablement


Even though local organisations are starting to take employee enablement more seriously, there is still much work to be done to truly transform how staff work.

Companies understand the need to better communicate with their employees beyond relying on email or a laptop. This is especially critical in industries such as medical, manufacturing, and mining where people do not sit in front of their computers most of the day.

Fortunately, instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp have grown in popularity to become a standard mechanism of communication. In fact, the smartphone has become the platform of choice for employee outreach. And thanks to its increased affordability, more South Africans than ever can afford to own one and remain in touch with the organisation.

Engaging differently

But what is the difference between enablement and engagement?

Simply put, enablement takes engagement to the next level where it revolves around empowering employees with training, development, and the skills needed to make more informed decisions. In other words, email as a delivery mechanism is no longer good enough.

This is where platforms, like Microsoft’s Kaizala, start coming into their own. Email will always fulfil a purpose, but employees and organisations require a more instant way of reaching out to one another. Fundamentally, email has become less targeted. Just consider how much unnecessary communication arrives through this.

The push content on mobile messaging groups are more targeted to people. For example, there are office groups, home security groups, neighbourhood watch groups, and school groups covering a myriad of sports and other activities. This makes communication easier to file and prioritise where needed.

Although WhatsApp has set the benchmark for South Africans when it comes to engagement, it still needs to address its inherent security, privacy, and broadcast challenges. On the other hand, a messaging platform for business use is highly secure and controlled by the organisation. However, neither solution’s potential has yet been fully explored in the local market.

For example, in India, messaging is not just used for communication, but also to purchase things, order food, check bus times, and so on. An entire ecosystem is built around messaging platforms.