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 released Wednesday (Oct. 14).
"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 or Cisco TelePresenceTM.
(NOTE: To access a social media release containing video and audio podcasts and other related online resources, visit: http://www.verizonbusiness.com/go/meetingsaroundtheworld.)
The study also introduces the industry's first quantitative model for a return on collaboration investment. The groundbreaking measurement, called the Return on Collaboration index, establishes a progressive impact of deploying advanced unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) technologies on business performance, and measures improvements in areas such as research and development, human resources, sales, marketing, investor relations and public relations.
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 organizations surveyed by the study reported that advanced collaboration such as UC&C enhances their ability to produce positive results. For example, research and development managers in organizations deploying UC&C reported that advanced collaboration tools enable products and solutions to be developed more quickly, with an improved chance of market success, a higher degree of quality, and a lower overall cost of development.
The new study builds on the 2006 Frost & Sullivan study - "Meetings Around the World: The Impact of Collaboration on Business Performance" - which determined collaboration is a key driver of business performance and collaboration through communications technologies can provide a competitive advantage.
"'Meetings Around the World II' confirms and extends the key findings of the original study and builds on those conclusions," said Brian Cotton, vice president for information and communications technologies for Frost & Sullivan. "This latest research shows adopting progressively more advanced unified communications and collaboration tools can help organizations achieve a corresponding return on collaboration and improvement across all business functions. This return was most dramatic in the areas of sales, marketing, and research and development."
3,662 SMB, Enterprise Decision-Makers in 10 Countries
Frost & Sullivan in May 2009 conducted an online survey of 3,662 information technology (IT) or line-of-business decision-makers in organizations in 10 countries in Asia-Pacific, Europe and the U.S. The survey gauged attitudes and practices within small and medium-sized businesses (50 to 999 employees) and enterprises (1,000 or more employees) in the financial services, government, health care, high technology, professional services, manufacturing and retail industries.
The study was undertaken as organizations around the world grappled with a challenging economy, and results showed use of 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.
Nancy Gofus, senior vice president of global business products for Verizon, said, "Based on this study, we see an era of advanced collaboration on the horizon. Organizations embracing unified communications and collaboration tools in an open, decentralized structure are enabling a more effective work style and cultivating a fertile ground for success. As organizations aspire to become advanced collaborators, even small steps taken along the way can immediately pay off."
Creating a Collaboration 'Network Effect'
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.
[For more information on attitudes toward collaboration around the world, go to: http://www.verizonbusiness.com/about/news/displaynews.xml?newsid=25390&mode=vzlong. To view a video discussing professionals' attitudes about collaboration, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzW8F-0kUbo]
Blair Crump, Verizon Business group president of worldwide sales, said: "Our customers increasingly are turning to us for consulting, design and implementation services to make the most of their IP connections as a platform for advanced collaboration. Our expert UC&C professional services capabilities combined with our comprehensive solutions portfolio can help organizations embrace this new work style and mobilize their workforce for a competitive advantage."
(NOTE: To see how Verizon Business customers CA and First American are embracing advanced collaboration to their business advantage, go to: http://www.verizonbusiness.com/about/news/displaynews.xml?newsid=25279&mode=vzlong&lang=en&width=530
"The Meetings Around the World II study confirms that collaboration is the next phase of the Internet and at the center of this phase is the network as a platform," said Carlos Dominguez, senior vice president for the office of the chairman and CEO, Cisco. "Having the right collaborative platform helps enable enterprises and organizations to speed decision making, increase productivity and improve interactions with their customers and partners, all designed to give them a competitive edge."
Verizon is a leading provider of collaboration and unified communications services, enabling organizations to conveniently and effectively collaborate, virtually anytime, anywhere, helping them improve response time and productivity without the costs and carbon emissions associated with business travel. With 30 years of experience delivering conferencing services, the company uses its global IP network to provide a wide array of advance collaboration and mobility tools to large-business and government customers around the world, including audio, video and Web conferencing; VoIP; contact center services; and managed and hosting solutions, as well as professional services capabilities.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 87 million customers nationwide. Verizon's Wireline operations provide converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network. Wireline also includes Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 235,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $97 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.