A flurry of instant messaging apps over the last few years has led to a transformative shift in business communication. What once was limited to phone calls and emails, business now gets conducted over a variety of channels, including SMS, WhatsApp, Telegram, iMessage, WeChat, Signal, LINE and more.
While these channels have had a role in shaping hybrid or work-from-home models, enabling professionals to stay connected with clients, managers and colleagues, they also make operations more complex. Managing these apps while keeping in line with compliance requirements and streamlining operations internally is an uphill task for employees and organizations.
Single Professional Identity Definition
Single professional identity is a framework that unifies different communication services an employee uses with a single phone number, often through a platform. It helps to simplify business communication and ensure data compliance.
Approved channels typically require a separate application or a different phone number. The more communication channels a business uses, the more numbers and applications they have to monitor. This can add unnecessary friction to the experience of clients and employees, creating compliance and data governance gaps. It can also lead to communication silos where one needs to log into each channel separately for different messages.
Juggling these separate channels and accounts is both a poor user experience and leads employees to ignore approved channels for the ease of their personal phone. This can lead to delays and miscommunication as messages on the different applications go unread, and can expose the company to compliance risks.
But there is a solution: single professional identity.
What Is Single Professional Identity
Single professional identity is a framework that unifies different communication services an employee uses with a single phone number. This facilitates simplification of communications as customers would be using the same phone number whether they are contacting a corporate employee via phone, text message, or a messaging app.
Whether an employee is using a corporate phone or personal device, they only need to manage one business account unifying and governing all business communication over an array of channels. This helps businesses to maintain robust enterprise control, while retaining the flexibility of different communication channels based on customer or user needs. To ensure enterprise oversight, data security and regulatory compliance, communications across channels are governed and recorded.
There are two ways an enterprise can adopt a single professional identity:
- Create a new number and assign it to an employee.
- Keep their existing number and port it to the service provider that will ensure calls, SMS and messages are reaching their recipient.
The main challenge for large enterprises that operate at a global scale is to get a new number or port their number regardless of the location. The service provider would create new numbers — mobile through eSIM/SIM cards or fixed via virtual phone numbers. It could also port existing customers’ numbers, mobile or fixed, to its platform.
An embedded SIM (eSIM) is embedded directly onto a mobile phone, supporting activation over the air. In place of an integrated circuit located on a physically removable SIM card, an eSIM is a rewritable chip permanently attached to a device. This brings down costs and makes the whole ecosystem more accessible.
How Single Professional Identity Improves Compliance
The proliferation of instant messaging apps in recent years has also brought along complex regulatory considerations. The non-compliant usage of messaging platforms has culminated in regulatory fines amounting to billions of dollars. An amalgamation of laws and industry standards shape a regulatory landscape that attempts to balance supporting innovations in form of communication with data protection and privacy.
The CAN-SPAM Act in the US, for instance, curbs unsolicited messages and supports ethical communication practices. Sector-specific bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in the US, require financial enterprises to record and supervise business-related communications including instant messages. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has set up stringent guidelines regarding the collection, storage, and processing of personal information.
Simplifying communications over voice, SMS, and messaging apps with a single professional identity helps an organization in ensuring compliance. Communication via a string of channels with different phone numbers makes it complex for business organizations, raising compliance cost. Single professional identity provides a unified source of data that simplifies for organizations to demonstrate how they are collecting, storing and using data from their customer engagement, while ensuring compliance.
The technology helps an organization sync with the underpinned regulatory principles of transparency (clear information about data collection, storage, and usage), security (data protection from breaches and unauthorized access) and compliance (industry-specific regulations and privacy standards).
The very factors that make instant messaging factors get so many takers — speed, informality, and ease of use — make it risky as well. Single professional identity enables organizations to control, monitor and even record communications from a single interface, thus minimizing risks and steering clear of any compliance violations.
How Single Professional Identity Can Unify Communications
The term “unified communications” refers to the integration of multiple communication tools into a single, streamlined interface where the users can opt for voice calling, instant messaging, video conferencing, content sharing or any other tool. The ability to switch seamlessly between modes of communication within a session boosts user experience and productivity.
For instance, a group of participants who begin conversation via a chat might escalate the communication to a video conference with a single click.
Single professional identity enables the centralization of the communications management and resources, resulting in more efficient workflows. Moreover, it brings along enterprise controls that give another dimension to unified communications. These controls might include
- Data protection and security, including data leakage protection and antivirus.
- Access and authentication.
- Information barriers, capture and recordkeeping.
- Workflow automation.
- CRM or bot integration.
Advantages of Single Professional Identity
Single Professional Identity is a technology that is set to redefine communication and facilitate collaboration in an unprecedented way. Eliminating the bottlenecks hindering frictionless communication, it enables business employees to handle communication across multiple channels using a single work phone number. What is more, enterprises are able to monitor and record conversations which helps them in compliance and governance.
Removing a significant barrier to seamless business communication, single professional identity is transmitting the domain to the next era.