Hear no evil, see no evil: business e-mail overtakes the telephone

Seems that most IT workers don’t want to see or really hear each other in the workplace. That’s according to research released today that indicates e-mail has overtaken telephony as a the most common workplace communication tool. Datamonitor/Dimension Data research reveals that 100% of the end-users surveyed use e-mail, followed by fixed-line telephones (80%), mobile telephones (76%) and instant messaging (66%). The study points out the three most ubiquitous technologies increase productivity the most. Over 70% of the end-users surveyed say e-mail impacts positively on their productivity, followed by conventional fixed-line telephony (53%) and mobile telephony (52%). From a productivity point-of-view, the research shows that instant messaging, blogs and softphones are considered most disruptive, and could negatively impact productivity if not managed properly. The research surveyed 390 IT managers and 524 enterprise users across 13 countries in the United States, Asia Pacific and Europe, Middle East and Africa. The results may not come as a surprise to those companies that have a lot of branch office s or telecommuters. Nemertes Research says 83% of companies run virtual workplaces, and such organizations overall are experiencing an average 11% growth in the number of branch offices meaning there’s a whole lot of people communicating without ever seeing or possibly hearing their branch office brethren. Taking the email growth a step further, Datamonitor said organizations view more collaborative communications will be the wave of the future. For example the survey found click-to-dial on desktops (52%), and presence (42%)applications as maturing technologies that will be routinely used in the corporate environment within two years. Most organizations have already invested in infrastructure technologies with 37% of companies currently using IP telephony, followed by 36% using a video conferencing infrastructure. Although mobile VoIP is not widely used, an investment is on corporate agendas, in the next two years, the study shoed. The research also confirms that the management of unified communication technologies is being outsourced more frequently than other technologies, with 38% of the sample currently having technologies managed onsite or fully managed, followed by voice/data network management (34%). Nemertes Research says unified communications are indeed growing but businesses still face some of the same obstacles that prevented them from adopting VoIP a few years ago. In a recent Network World story, we noted the Nemertes study of 120 IT executives revealed 79% of respondents either already use or are planning to use unified communications, but 60% say their collaboration and communications staffs are separate. The idea of unified communications is to blend voice, video, instant messaging and conferencing with presence, collaboration, messaging and calendaring, but that requires multiple groups to cooperate, Nemertes says. So far only 10% of businesses have their IT departments structured to handle collaboration effectively, the study results say. Other results from the study say that use of desktop videoconferencing has grown to 30%, up 8% over last year’s study, but businesses still have major reservations. Deployments so far are limited within companies. There is no good argument that it improves productivity and IT executives worry about demand for network bandwidth if desktop video were widely adopted across their companies, according to Nemertes.

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