By Melanie Turek, Vice President, Research, Frost & Sullivan
Frost & Sullivan recently conducted a survey of more than 200 C-level executives to uncover their views of, and their companies’ use of, advanced communications and collaboration technology. The web-based survey polled executives at companies of all sizes in healthcare, financial services, hospitality, IT/telecom, retail and government.
Taking a look at video and web conferencing in particular, the outlook is bright. Seventy percent of executives are aware of video conferencing, and 68% are aware of web conferencing—that’s ahead of soft phones, IP-PBXs and mobile extensions of communications, among other technologies. Meanwhile, web conferencing is in use within 41% of organizations, and used personally by 40% of executives surveyed; video conferencing is in use in 40% of companies, and personally used by 36% of executives.
More importantly, perhaps, is the fact that both video and web collaboration tools are used extensively within 57% of those organizations that have them deployed, and more than three quarters of users make use of the technologies daily or weekly. That bodes well for driving collaboration within those businesses, and it suggests that users are finding significant value in the technologies.
The research bears this out. Fifty-nine percent of executives say video conferencing is very important to their organizations, and 55% percent say the same about web collaboration. Video is most valued for reducing costs, since it cuts down on travel, while web collaboration is hailed for its use in improving customer service by allowing employees to quickly get the information they need from colleagues to solve customer problems. Video also meets or exceeds expectations in 95% of the organizations that use it; web conferencing does the same in 96% of companies. No wonder nearly half of all current users plan to increase usage in the coming year.
Enterprise social software is starting to make inroads, too, with a third of companies using the tools; of those, 76% do so extensively across the organization, and 90% do so on a daily or weekly basis. Social software is considered important to the organization in 49% of cases, and it is especially valued for improving customer service. Many companies are taking advantage of social tools to improve their customer relationships and better identify their brand.
When it comes to deployment decisions, 25% of companies use hosted services only or managed services only, while 15 percent use both types of service. Seventy-six percent of companies that use hosted services plan to increase that usage in the coming 12 months; 59% of managed services users say the same thing. The top drivers for using hosted and/or managed services include the desire for IT to focus on core competencies (and the fact that many staffs don’t have the necessary skills to support advanced communications technologies); cost reduction and predictability; and the need to access advanced solutions and better manage the networks that support them.
What technology is your company using or researching to boost collaboration? Any other ways you use video or web collaboration to grow your business? For more Frost & Sullivan advice on web and video technology for your organization, visit PGi's special Frost & Sullivan site for case studies, webinars, videos and more.