Performance enhancing collaboration technologies

June 14, 2006

Frost & Sullivan, together with Verizon Business and Microsoft, recently measured the impact of a number of collaboration technologies on the performance of global enterprises. The technologies examined included email, meeting scheduler, instant messaging, video conferencing, audio conferencing, web conferencing, desktop or wired PC, mobile/wireless PC, PDA w/no web access, PDA w/web access, mobile phone w/web access, and pagers.

Which collaboration technologies most enhance performance? According to the white paper:

Indeed, when we analyzed how companies' use of specific collaboration technologies impacts business performance, we found that web conferencing, audio conferencing, and meeting scheduler tools were more commonly present in high performance than low performance companies.

What I find interesting here is that these three technologies all involve ways for teams to meet and conference together. While more personalized technologies, such PDAs, support collaboration and personal productivity, this report suggests that they contribute less to organizational performance than do technologies that affect the entire team.

Which performance areas are most affected by collaboration technologies? The following list includes the performance areas most affected by collaboration technology and the percentage influence, as measured by researchers, that collaboration had on each performance area:

  • Customer satisfaction (41%)
  • Labor productivity (36%)
  • Product quality (34%)
  • Product development (30%)
  • Innovation (30%)
  • Profitability (29%)
  • Sales growth (27%)
  • Profit growth (26%)

Which enterprises make the most use of performance enhancing collaboration technologies? The study found that the most important determinant involves the extent to which companies have developed a "culture of openness". Openness affects both the capability of an enterprise to collaborate and the quality of the collaboration.

A culture of openness is defined according to the ease of talking to anyone within the organization, the regularity of cooperation between units within the organization, and the accessibility of persons to those in other departments. A culture of openness is an asset that is difficult for competitors to detect or imitate, which makes it a strategic advantage over organizations that are not open.

Is your organization maximizing openness and the use of collaboration technologies to enhance performance?

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