More Businesses Adopting Advanced Collaboration Tools: Survey

A survey conducted by Frost & Sullivan and sponsored by Cisco and Verizon finds that a growing number of businesses big and small are adopting advanced collaboration tools, such as VOIP, immersive video and fixed mobile convergence. Budget pressures and the environment are key drivers, and respondents say the technologies are improving. A growing number of businesses plan to continue investing in the technologies despite the struggling economy.

Concerned about cutting expenses and reducing their global carbon footprint, more businesses are adopting advanced collaboration tools, according to a survey by research firm Frost & Sullivan.

Those companies also are getting a rapid return on those investments.

The survey, sponsored by Cisco Systems and Verizon, found that businesses and government agencies that implemented these advanced collaboration tools-from VOIP (voice over IP) soft phones, immersive video and fixed mobile convergence-are seeing an average return of four times their investment in deploying the technologies.

The ROI was greatest in such areas as sales, marketing, and research and development, according to 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," Cotton said in a statement.

For the study, released Oct. 14, Frost & Sullivan surveyed 3,662 IT professionals in the United States and countries in Europe and Asia. Those companies ran the gamut, from SMBs to larger enterprises.

Along with the improved ROI, the research also found a growing number of businesses are interested in either expanding their use of advanced collaboration tool or-for those who have yet to deploy them-starting to use them.

Forty-four percent of those companies surveyed have deployed unified communication and collaboration tools-which range from telepresence technologies and immersive video to integrated voice, e-mail and instant messaging-and 40 percent of those companies plan to increase their spending in the area.

More than 80 percent of businesses that haven't yet deployed such tools plan on doing so to various degrees in the next two to three years.

Other key findings from the survey include that VOIP is the leading tool for delivering collaboration applications. About 92 percent of IT managers said VOIP quality is at least as good as traditional wireline phones.

In addition, more than 50 percent of respondents said collaboration tools are enabling them to achieve greater balance in their lives, according to the survey, which indicated that telecommuting also is gaining traction among businesses and workers.

About 61 percent said advanced collaboration tools are reducing the need to travel for business, and more than half said such tools were good alternatives to traveling to face-to-face meetings.

In addition, 53 percent said environmental concerns, such as reducing their company's carbon footprint, were key drivers in adopting collaboration tools.