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Survey Reveals Enterprise Communication, Collaboration Practices

Dimension Data, a global IT solutions and services provider, has released the results of its survey of video communications deployments. Of the more than 800 IT leaders from organizations that have invested in video collaboration tools, a majority of the tools already in place were wasted -- they are not available to the audiences that need them most, such as remote workers.

The company, which happens to be Cisco’s largest TelePresence reseller, points out that when it comes to communication and collaboration tools, most (87.5 percent) use desk phones, and just over 70 percent use video conferencing and collaboration with Web-based tools.

For “typical” meetings, 86 percent of respondents meet in person, 80.5 percent use audio conferences, and 62.2 percent employ online collaboration solutions. Only 42 percent use video conferencing. For communicating with customers, partners, and suppliers, respondents prefer audio conferencing (91 percent); 90 percent use in-person meetings.

Communication and collaboration planning is lacking: just over a quarter (27.3 percent) are in the first year of their three-year road map, and 14 percent are in the second year. Almost half (48.8 percent) don’t have a road map at all. Far worse: of the rest of the respondents (9.9 percent), the majority don’t know what a communication/collaboration road map is.

At the top of IT’s priority list: 57 percent say reducing costs is their primary priority for 2011, following by improving business processes (51 percent) and improving work effectiveness (36 percent). Perhaps IT should look more closely at instant messaging to improve productivity; IM proved popular in the survey, with 72 percent reporting they use IM as a communication and collaboration solution (74 percent of these enterprises manage it on-premise). Two-thirds of IM users have it integrated such communications into other systems.

The Web is also leading the way. A whopping 96 percent of users employ Web tools (such as Webex, Live Meeting, and SharePoint) to share and edit documents, though more than half believe that less than 20 percent of staff regularly use the collaborations tools available in their enterprise.

Saving money -- including reducing travel expenses and increasing employee productivity -- is driving video conferencing, which 59.8 percent of respondents currently have and use it one out of five times to communicate with “approved customers and partners;” 52 percent use it for internal communications (another 30 percent use it internally and for remote communications).

Video conferencing faces a number of challenges from non-users, respondents noted. Leading the list: 62.5 percent of non-users say bandwidth could be a problem; more than half (57 percent) said justifying the cost would be tough, and 55.7 percent said their tight budget would be a roadblock.

-- James E. Powell
Editorial Director, ESJ

Posted on 12/23/2010

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