Organizations around the world that deploy the most advanced Internet-protocol-based collaboration technologies achieve more than twice the return on their collaboration investment and perform better than their less collaborative peers, according to a new Frost & Sullivan study.
"Meetings Around the World II: Charting the Course of Advanced Collaboration," sponsored by Verizon and Cisco, examines how professionals in businesses and government agencies get their work done by using advanced collaboration tools such as voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), instant messaging or meeting via high-definition video.
The study found that businesses and government agencies deploying increasingly more sophisticated collaboration tools -- such as VoIP soft phones, immersive video and fixed mobile convergence -- saw a corresponding improvement in business results relative to the amount invested. The overall average Return on Collaboration (ROC) score was 4.2 -- meaning organizations received an average return of four times their investment in deploying collaboration technologies in terms of improvement across business-critical areas.
The study was undertaken as organizations around the world grappled with a challenging economy, and results showed use of unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) solutions are becoming increasingly popular. Nearly half (44 percent) of all organizations surveyed have deployed UC&C tools -- such as user presence on a device, document sharing, immersive video or Cisco TelePresence for near-lifelike visual communications, integrated voice, e-mail and instant messaging, and telephone features and management capabilities on mobile devices and the desktop.
The study also found that 40 percent of organizations that deploy UC&C plan to increase spending on this despite current economic conditions. In addition, more than 80 percent of organizations that have not deployed UC&C tools plan to deploy some form of them in the next two to three years.
The greatest impact of collaboration was where the largest numbers of people interacted for a common goal, including sales, research and development and marketing. By implementing more advanced UC&C tools, the study found, organizations could increase their return across all areas.
This finding suggests that teams using UC&C tools can benefit from a "network effect" -- a theory attributed to Robert Metcalfe, the co-inventor of Ethernet, that holds that the more users on a network, the more value is likely realized from it. While larger enterprises tended to receive greater collaboration returns, small and medium-sized businesses can increase returns by deploying progressively more advanced tools and expanding their reach beyond their organizations working with customers, partners and suppliers.
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