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VoIP, unified messaging, products and services
Network World - Siemens Enterprise Communications has published a study discussing the state of collaboration and other business productivity tools. Not surprisingly, the study showed virtual teams still rely on legacy tools such as email and phones, and they are frustrated by current collaboration technologies. The survey was based on a sample of 320 responses, with answers coming in from nine countries across North America, Latin America and Western Europe.
When it came to employee perceptions about the effectiveness of mobile working, the research revealed that while a "distributed, remote, mobile workforce is a reality for most businesses today" few employers have equipped their teams with much more than "a laptop, desk phone, and mobile e-mail." The study also found that employees largely unprepared to "interact and build relationships in a largely virtual world."
The study also found that employees often don't have the tools they need to work effectively as a virtual team: While 79% of respondents reported they frequently work as part of a virtual team, only 44% find their virtual interactions as productive as working face-to-face. As for using video collaboration, 72% of those surveyed believed teamwork is more effective via video, although only 34% use it.
Tools aren't the only consideration for virtual team effectiveness: Only 8% of businesses surveyed have processes in place to manage team performance and ensure optimal team output.
The study concludes with three recommendations:
• Shift focus "from ports to people." The focus must transcend the technology to empower workers and improve the way teams connect, collaborate and deliver.
• Align user experience with new work lifestyles. Mobility is now the norm and users expect the tools they use at work to be as simple and elegant as the technology they use in their personal lives.
• Embed unified communications in the way people work. Communication solutions must be closely integrated with the existing applications, content, and process; simplify the users' view of content; and provide only the information users need in the format they require.
Commenting in a statement, Chris Hummel, chief commercial officer, Siemens Enterprise Communications, said, "This study reinforces what we hear every day from prospects and highlights the real opportunity enterprises have if they can improve the connection and collaboration among virtual teams."
Our thanks to Siemens Enterprise Communications for sharing its findings. For more details from the survey, please click here: http://www.siemens-enterprise.com/us/whitepaper.aspx.
Read more about voip & convergence in Network World's VoIP & Convergence section.
Steve Taylor is president of Distributed Networking Associates and publisher/editor-in-chief of Webtorials. Larry Hettick, an independent analyst and consultant, is a 30-year industry veteran. He has covered VoIP and UC at Network World for 12 years.