IP Networks Growing as Business Platform, Report Says

Businesses investing in Internet-protocol-based collaboration technologies are reaping a large return on investment (ROI), according to a report from Frost & Sullivan.

A report by Frost & Sullivan, sponsored by Verizon Communications and Cisco found 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. The study examined 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 TelePresence.

"Meetings Around the World II: Charting the Course of Advanced Collaboration" introduced a quantitative model for a return on collaboration investment called the Return on Collaboration index, which 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 relation.

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.

Nancy Gofus, senior vice president of global business products for Verizon, said based on the study, they 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," she said. "As organizations aspire to become advanced collaborators, even small steps taken along the way can immediately pay off."

Nearly half (44 percent) of all organizations surveyed (3,662) 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 organizations surveyed by the study, ranging from small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) to enterprises, 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.

"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," said vice president for information and communications technologies for Frost & Sullivan, Brian Cotton. "This return was most dramatic in the areas of sales, marketing, and research and development."