Moving beyond the traditional, standalone technologies of conferencing, a new wave of collaboration products and services is starting to redefine notions and experiences of the office as a physical 'container' of work. Social networking entering the workplace is becoming 'industrialised' in process, and integrated into the collaboration mix, what increases the potential for productive creativity and accelerates business decision-making and responsiveness.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (enterprise.frost.com), Enterprise Collaboration and the Office of the Future, finds that this accelerating evolution of the collaborative technologies has at its centre visual collaboration – typified by videoconferencing and telepresence. In just a few short years visual collaboration has finally established itself as a credible, effective, and highly usable business tool, witnessed by the rapid recover of strong sales growth following the recession.
"What have until recently been discreet islands of technology are now merging to create a powerful and pervasive capability for the physical and virtual office environments," notes Frost & Sullivan Principal Analyst Dominic Dodd. "Visual and unified communications, social networking and enterprise content management are each playing a vital role in a new, emerging mode of enterprise collaboration."
"Central to this new mode of collaboration is the seamless integration at the user's desktop of the abilities to search, share, shape and store information in ways that have been simply impossible until now," continues Dodd.
Increasingly, the format of business activities is defined by the information and collaborative communications available, and how the collaboration process acts with and on this information. In addition, the nature of modern communications – whether fixed or mobile – allows business activities to transcend the boundaries imposed by a traditional office, thus freeing many kinds of activities that were once rooted within a physical space and spurring the development of new forms.
However, as the recession still makes its effects felt, many companies continue to restrict new investment in information and communications technologies. Another challenge relates to quantifying the benefits of collaboration. Beyond a travel cost reduction – the more sophisticated 'softer' benefits of collaboration are notoriously difficult to assess. Companies are therefore tending to rely on travel replacement alone as justification for investment, and are not 'pushing the envelope' to the full extent of what collaboration can help them achieve.
Companies should be prepared to audit their existing use of collaboration technologies, such as audio conferencing and shared workspaces, to understand whether these are being utilised to their fullest potential.
"Critical to maximising the benefits that collaboration can deliver to their organisations, senior executives must be prepared to consider the potential need for changes to both structure and culture, and the central role they must play in making these happen," concludes Dodd.
Introducing the 2011 European ICT Awards Programme, Frost & will award companies in the following categories: European Unified Communications and Collaboration Product OTY, European Visual Collaboration Service Provider OTY, European Visual Collaboration Product OTY, European Conferencing & Collaboration Service Provider OTY, European Unified Communications Service Provider OTY.
If you are interested in attending the ICT Industry's Best Practices Awards 2011 Banquet or would like to have more information on the Frost & Sullivan 2011 European ICT Awards Programme, please contact Joanna Lewandowska, Corporate Communications, at Joanna.lewandowska[.]frost.com. A limited number of complimentary passes are available to members of the media.
If you are interested in more information about this study, please send an email with your full contact details to Joanna Lewandowska, Corporate Communications, at joanna.lewandowska[.]frost.com.
Enterprise Collaboration and the Office of the Future is a part of the Market Insights – Enterprise Communications subscription, which also includes research on: Delivering Interoperability for UCC Products & Services, Conferencing Services in Major European Markets and World Videoconferencing and Telepresence Markets. These Market Insights are part of Frost & Sullivan Growth Partnership Service.
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