Table of Contents
The study investigates European business users' preferences regarding information and communications products and vendors, as well as service and service providers. In particular, the study measures the awareness and usage of information and communications technology (ICT) products and services in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom; it identifies the frequency and level of ICT tool usage, and it keys out the leading ICT companies. The study was conducted in March and April of 2011 by means of a Web-based survey. In effect, 315 European business users of ICT solutions were surveyed to obtain these results.
Executive Summary and Implications
Overall, visual collaboration is not frequently used, especially in comparison to more traditional meeting methods. For instance, xx percent of standard face-to-face meetings occur daily, while xx percent of meetings that utilize visual collaboration take place less than once a month. Nevertheless, xx percent of respondents already deploy visual collaboration on a daily basis. Moreover, its usage is gradually increasing. As many as xx percent of respondents expect the usage of visual collaboration in the organization to increase during the coming year.
All of the meeting methods tested are used for a variety of purposes. Visual collaboration is most widely used for internal staff communication, product development, and product training and demonstration. In comparison, standard face-to-face meetings are most commonly used in situations that require diplomacy and confidentiality, such as contract negotiations, customer presentations, or HR purposes. Since human face-to-face interaction is the most effective form of communication, face-to-face meetings are also rated as most beneficial in most business situations. Yet visual collaboration is generally rated just behind face-to-face meetings and ahead of other more traditional meeting types, such as audio and Web conferencing.
Overall, the greatest value that visual collaboration offers organizations is ease of use, the value received for the money spent, and the reach it extends, as it can be used by a large number of people throughout the organization. While primary benefits focus on savings via reductions in time spent and travel costs, secondary benefits include relationship building/linking of workforces and/or clients, especially for international organizations. Meetings via visual collaboration also bring an additional element to a meeting, namely, the “cool factor” of using a more innovative meeting tool.
Thus, within international organizations, visual collaboration is and will continue to be a tool that enables close business relationships to be maintained, while containing costs. Skype is the most well-known and most widely used visual collaboration provider, offering the best value for money. Other top service providers include Cisco, which offers the highest reliability; Microsoft, which is rated best in terms of its reach; and Polycom, which is rated best for its trustworthiness.
As far as budgets are concerned, half of the companies spend less than five percent of the organization’s total information and communications technologies budget on visual collaboration. Software-based collaboration is a solution type that is preferred by respondents.
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