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IDG-XO Study Shows Increased Productivity From Employees Using UC

Edward GatelyAn IDG study shows that 93 percent of employees who use unified communication and collaboration (UCC) tools increased productivity, while 97 percent reported improved collaboration.

XO Communications commissioned the report, titled “Realizing the Untapped Potential of Unified Communications.” While respondents were clear about the benefits of adopting UC in their daily work, nearly one in four (24 percent) said they lack sufficient training so they could maximize the value of the UC tools available to them.

“The study results helps businesses with assessing the benefits of implementing various UC tools available to their workforce,” said Jake Heinz, XO’s senior vice president of marketing and product.

Respondents overwhelmingly agree that UC tools have helped them achieve across-the-board improvements, not just in collaboration and productivity, but also in faster decision-making (81 percent) and problem resolution (88 percent).

The two UC tools having the most direct positive impact on employee productivity are presence detection and multichannel contact centers, according to the study. Presence detection allows users to see who is available and identifies the best way to reach them, while multichannel contact centers help reduce the average time it takes to resolve customer issues.

Most respondents said their company provides its employees with instant messaging (IM), Web conferencing, audio conferencing, video conferencing and desktop sharing tools. Fewer respondents’ organizations have deployed other tools like mobile clients, presence detection, click-to-call, visual voice mail, multichannel contact centers, “follow me” voice service, and the ability to transfer calls in process between mobile and desktop phones.

At the same time, less than one in three respondents called their UC tools “excellent” or “very good,” while more than a third said their UC tools are merely “satisfactory” or even “poor.” This may indicate that companies have …

…deployed tools that do not meet end users’ needs. Alternatively, it may mean that although the tools are fit for purpose, the end users do not know how best to use them to achieve the desired results, the study concluded.

IM is the most widely deployed and most commonly used of UC tools, with nearly three in four companies providing IM functionality, and of those, seven in 10 use it daily. However, among other tools, deployment and frequency of use are disconnected. Some tools are widely deployed but rarely used, creating opportunities for organizations to generate more value by looking for other ways to use them.

In contrast, some tools are rarely deployed but are used frequently among the companies that have them. Only 37 percent of the respondents said their company has deployed a presence-management tool, but nearly eight in 10 of those respondents use it daily. Similarly, although only 18 percent of the respondents use a “follow me” voice service, 45 percent of that group use it daily. This suggests that many more companies could achieve greater benefits on a daily basis by investigating and deploying these less commonly used tools.

The IDG study also points out the danger of taking a one-size-fits-all approach to deploying UC tools. It’s important for organizations to match employees’ needs with the right tool set, not just by offering training, but also by including employees in the selection process to understand which tools will best support their roles and showing them early in that process exactly how the tools will make their job easier.


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