Key Findings from the 2016 Connected Enterprise Report
The 2016 Connected Enterprise Report provides a comprehensive global overview of the state of collaboration implementation strategies, and highlights collaboration trends and disruptions in key markets. It also investigates the role of lines of business in the decision-making process and the degree to which organisations have benefited from collaboration within the broader context of the move towards digital business. If stronger collaboration using the right technologies to better connect employees, customers, and partners is a key goal of the digital business, the Report provides a gauge of how well organisations are doing along that journey.
Together with Ovum, we surveyed 580 IT managers, IT directors, CIOs, and others responsible for information systems at their companies, as well as 320 line-of-business managers. They work at companies with at least 1,000 employees in a range of industries, and to get a global perspective, we included participants at companies based in 15 different countries.
Our key findings:
Many enterprises have not included collaboration in their technology strategy
Nearly 40% of organisations don’t have a defined unified communication and collaboration strategy.
However, with the remaining 60% that do have a strategy, line of business managers and other non-IT executives have a pivotal role in defining and executing their company’s collaboration strategy – an astounding 89% of research participants. An increasing number of line of business – one in four organisations – are also taking responsibility to pay for and implement the solutions as well, without express consent of IT.
Enterprises rely on collaboration to drive sales and new revenue
Increasing sales is the most important collaboration strategy at 14% of enterprises, second only to increased productivity, which is most important to 19%.
Organisations are turning to collaboration to improve sales, with 14% – the second highest number of respondents – saying improving sales is the top goal of their collaboration strategy. And one in three organisations say increased sales is among the top three most important ways of measuring the success of their collaboration projects.
Few enterprises view return on investment as the main way they measure the success of their use of collaboration technology
Only 4% use return on investment (ROI) as the primary method of determining whether their deployment of new collaboration technologies has been a success.
A demonstrable ROI is the least relied on method that organisations use to gauge the success of their use of collaboration technology. Only 4% of organisations measure success by calculating ROI, whereas employee productivity data, user uptake data, and cost savings data are much more common ways to justify their investments in collaboration technology. This is problematic because ROI is an important way of justifying any kind of technology investment.
Not enough focus on what happens after the technology is deployed
A quarter of organisations focus more on the successful implementation of collaboration technology, rather than how it’s used and adopted.
One out of every four IT departments measure the success of their collaboration projects by how well they’ve implemented the technology. This is a rather dangerous mindset, since the success of collaboration projects hinges as much on what comes after the technology is implemented as before. If employees don’t use the collaboration tool – and use them effectively – then organisations will neither benefit from the technology nor achieve an ROI on it. Related to this, 17% of organisations haven’t implemented collaboration training programmes, and 16% haven’t changed travel policies to encourage the use of videoconferencing and other collaboration tools. This is a recipe for disaster for many organisations looking to derive maximum value of their use of collaboration technology.
Collaboration improves enterprises’ ability to interact with customers
81% of enterprises say collaboration has enhanced their ability to engage with customers and improve customer service.
Collaboration technology has a wide range of uses in customer engagement scenarios. Rich communications leveraging technology lets businesses interact with clients in the manner and on the device they prefer. And it improves how contact agents work together and with others in the enterprise to resolve customer issues. However, very few – only 2% of enterprises – identify customer service improvements as the topmost goal of the collaboration strategy. The implication is that better customer experience is an accidental rather than pre-planned outcome for many organisations implementing collaboration technology.
Collaboration accelerates decision-making, but many organisations need to leverage it to improve their competitive position
88% of enterprises say collaboration has improved the decision-making process in their organisations.
Enterprises have also become very adept at leveraging collaboration technology to make their employees more productive, with 84% saying collaboration has improved the productivity of individual employees. But many struggle to leverage collaboration to compete in their respective industries, with 20% of organisations saying their use of collaboration technology has failed to improve their competitive positioning.
Cloud-based collaboration is a strategic goal for many enterprises, but it will take some time to achieve
Nearly one in three IT departments see moving unified communication and collaboration to the cloud as the most important technology trend affecting their collaboration strategy.
However, organisations are taking a very cautious approach to the cloud, with only 20–25% currently relying on hosted collaboration services. This isn’t expected to grow significantly in the next 12 months as enterprises carefully and deliberately execute on their cloud strategies.
Line of business have a prominent role in deciding which collaboration technology to use
Almost 60% of lines of business have their own budget – independent of IT – to purchase collaboration technology. And 57% have staff within the department to both implement and support collaboration technology.
Selecting, purchasing, and implementing collaboration technology are no longer just the IT department’s responsibilities. At many enterprises, IT need to work hand-in-hand with lines of business that not only understand what they seek to gain from collaboration but are also capable of purchasing and supporting the technology.