IDG Quick Polls                               *    CollaborationMuch ado about                                            ...
IDG Quick Polls                                         *      Collaborationfigure 2:   Adoption Plans for Document Sharin...
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Much Ado About Collaboration


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In late summer 2010 Gartner released its vision of how work will change in the next 10 years. At the top of the list was this: “People will swarm more often and work solo less. They’ll work with others with whom they have few links, and teams will include people outside the control of the organization. Swarms form quickly, attacking a problem or opportunity and then quickly dissipating.”

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Much Ado About Collaboration

  1. 1. IDG Quick Polls * CollaborationMuch ado about product in its vaunted history. It may also explain the rapidly changing in- frastructure of the modern business to a mobilecollaboration workforce. According to IDC, the worldwide mobile worker population is set to increase from 919 million in 2008 (29 percent) to 1.19 billion in 2013 (35 percent). Employees are therefore turn-IDG Research survey shows demand ing to collaborative tools such as telepresence,for solutions to unite workers in today’s virtual meetings and VoIP to simulate an office- like atmosphere while on the road or workingdistributed environments from home. “Collaborative tools have tremendous value to our company,” says Nelson Still, CIO of Market Probe. “As a geographically diverse organization, we need to ensure that we are all coordinated as we work on projects with employees stretched around the globe. We need technology for that.” Driving efficiency and productivity A recent survey of IT managers in small and medium businesses (SMBs) by IDG Research Services bears this out. There is a very high level of interest within these companies in technolo- gies and solutions that promote collaboration, thereby driving productivity while potentially lowering costs as well. Communication solutions are an integral In late summer 2010 Gartner released its vision component of collaboration, and audio and web of how work will change in the next 10 years. At conferencing rank one and two in the IDG sur- the top of the list was this: “People will swarm vey, respectably, among services currently used more often and work solo less. They’ll work by SMB employees; seven in ten organizations with others with whom they have few links, and take advantage of these technologies. VoIP, in- teams will include people outside the control of stant messaging and video conferencing, which the organization. Swarms form quickly, attack- are newer solutions that are rapidly gaining ing a problem or opportunity and then quickly traction, round out the top five communication dissipating.” technologies most frequently deployed today. If this vision is accurate, then collaboration Though the various modes of communica- technologies will be the key driver to making it tion have great potential to facilitate collabora- a reality. Perhaps that explains why Microsoft tion, the use of discrete messaging technologies claims SharePoint Server, the company’s main across several platforms is inefficient and can collaboration solution, is the fastest-growing lead to data loss or omissions of key information. figure 1: Perceived Benefits Associated with Integrated Messaging Solutions Which do you perceive as benefits your business would receive by adopting solutions that integrate different electronic messaging and communications media technologies (i.e., e-mail, SMS, fax, voicemail, video messaging etc.) into a single interface, accessible from a variety of different devices? Base: 67 More efficient/effective communication 70% Better messaging w/ one common interface 61% Enhance daily productivity 54% Faster decision making/problem resolution 46% Improved customer support 43% Lower operating costs/reduced travel 33%
  2. 2. IDG Quick Polls * Collaborationfigure 2: Adoption Plans for Document Sharing Solutions solution, is document sharing. By allowing all members of a team to see what each other areWhen it comes to investing in document sharing solutions (such asMicrosoft SharePoint, Microsoft Office 2010 or others), what are your working on, document sharing solutions createcompany’s plans? Base: 67 an open forum for suggestions and improve- ment. Over half of the companies surveyed have Have already invested in already invested in this type of technology, and document sharing solutions Have no plans at this time another 24 percent intend to do so within the and will continue to invest to invest in document over the next 18 months next 18 months (figure 2). sharing solutions4% Have not invested in 21% Dell leading collaboration chargedocument sharing solu- 70%tions but plan to within Dell has partnered with Microsoft and assem- the next 13-18 months bled a powerful package of collaborative tools 13% to help organizations keep up with evolving7% Have not invested in business needs. According to IDC, Microsoft leddocument sharing solu- the collaborative content workspace in 2009.tions but plan to within Have not invested in This is in a large part due to SharePoint 2010. the next 7-12 months document sharing solu- SharePoint is basically the amalgamation of tions but plan to within the next 6 months functionality from six diverse markets: collabo- ration; portal search; enterprise content man- agement; business process management; and business intelligence. In a business world that As a result, many organizations are consider- is rapidly shifting towards a Web-centric col- ing an integrated messaging solution. While just laboration and file sharing solution, SharePoint three in ten businesses currently use a messag- represents a formidable collaborative tool for ing solution that aggregates communications the PC computing environment. into a single interface, almost half of all respon- Moreover, SharePoint provides an enhanced dents indicate that they are considering deploy- social experience that includes social network- ing one within the next 18 months. ing features, podcasting, video and analytics According to the IDG survey, organizations under a single umbrella. These features will help believe the biggest benefit of an integrated aid the merger of social platforms—which are messaging solution is more efficient and ef- now being recognized for their ability to transmit fective communication (figure 1). Along with and exchange information quickly across the the advantage of better messaging through a Web— and collaborative technologies. single interface that is accessible from a variety Microsoft is stepping up its unified com- of devices, respondents indicate that unifying munications with its next generation of Office these communication technologies ultimately Communications Server, code-named OCS 14. enhances productivity The new suite will integrate VoIP and telephony, While four in ten of the organizations sur- instant messaging, and video and audio confer- veyed have lingering concerns about the lack of encing into a single Web-based platform. These available capital to invest in an integrated mes- technologies will facilitate the employment of saging solution, this fear can be explained by the untethered workers, who will be able to collabo- difficulty in assessing its value. Over a third of rate remotely on projects with team members in the respondents indicate an inability to deter- a manner that resembles physical interaction. mine the ROI of unified communications. Partnered with Microsoft Learning, Dell Companies must allay these concerns. Early Education Services has created a collection of investors have sung the praises of having an distinctive online courses—equipped with local integrated communication solution. “When it and simulated labs—designed to teach users comes to project management, a lack of trans- the skills and knowledge required to operate parency impinges on our ability to collaborate. its array of programs and tools. Businesses and Things get lost in emails, and when that oc- employees interested in becoming proficient curs, accountability goes out the window,” says with them will be able to optimize what each Still. “By making communications unified and program has to offer. transparent, everyone knows what each team As the workforce becomes more mobile, member is supposed to be doing and when. collaborative technologies will be in high We’re not there yet, but we’re getting there.” demand. By partnering with Microsoft, Dell A necessary component of collaboration, has placed itself among the industry’s elite and one that complements a unified messaging providers of these technologies to SMBs. n