Enterprises poised to embrace new era of digital collaboration



    Majority of North American companies not satisfied with impact of current
    collaboration technologies but see significant benefits to next wave

    MISSISSAUGA, ON, Aug. 22 /CNW/ - According to research commissioned by
Avanade Inc., a global IT consultancy, less than half of Canadian and U.S.
enterprises surveyed are satisfied with the impact of current collaborative
and communication technologies including email, intranets and video
conferencing. However, nearly all of these companies see significant benefits
in the new wave of collaboration and communication technologies and, over the
next two years, plan to invest in such technologies as enterprise search
tools, virtual workspaces, and voice over IP (VoIP).
    The study, conducted by Coleman Parkes, surveyed more than 400 CIOs and
IT Directors across North America and Europe, including 55 of the top 250
Canadian companies, about their views on collaboration and communication
technologies within and beyond the enterprise. According to the study,
Canadian and U.S. respondents associate digital collaboration first and
foremost with email and Intranets. Video conferencing and extranets also were
cited as collaboration tools, but enterprise search and presence were missing
altogether in the collective response. Avanade defines digital collaboration
as the convergence of traditional collaboration technologies--such as email
and portals--with emerging unified communications technologies-such as
presence and VoIP--to provide access to data and voice services anywhere,
anytime on any device.
    "We see a great chasm between where customers are today in practical
terms and where they need to be to really take advantage of digital
collaboration," said Jeff Kempiners, Chief Technology Officer, Avanade Canada.
"Email, websites and conference calling are the backbone of sharing
information between stakeholders but this is only the starting point of true
digital collaboration. To make a big impact to the business - in terms of
productivity, reduced time to market, and agility - organizations need to make
new collaboration technologies a management priority."
    The research suggests a few reasons why only 49 per cent of Canadian and
45 per cent of U.S. companies say they are currently satisfied with the impact
of collaborative and communication technologies:

    
    -   22 per cent of Canadian companies surveyed have nothing defined about
        collaborative and communication activity.
    -   Only 11 per cent of the U.S. companies surveyed have a fully
        documented and implemented collaboration and communication strategy
        across the enterprise.
    -   91 per cent of Canadian companies and 88 per cent of U.S. companies
        surveyed agree that digital collaboration needs to be extended within
        the business to allow the company to be more effective and
        productive, even though there are so many technologies in use today.
    -   67 per cent of Canadian organizations and 71 per cent in the U.S. say
        they need to add new technologies to enhance their digital
        collaboration capabilities.

    Indeed, in the next two years, these companies expect to extend their
existing investments in collaboration and communication technologies as well
as make new investments to integrate existing investments with the emerging
digital collaboration technologies. Among the U.S. companies surveyed:

    -   80 per cent will have implemented VoIP in two years, up from
        50 per cent who say they have VoIP implemented today
    -   79 per cent will have implemented enterprise search tools, compared
        to 59 per cent who say they have enterprise search implemented today.
    -   68 per cent will have implemented virtual workspaces, compared to
        48 per cent who say they already use the technology.
    

    Similarly, the digital collaboration technologies to be adopted most
aggressively in Canada in two years are enterprise search, virtual workspaces,
video conferencing and VoIP.
    Though most Canadian and U.S. enterprises are not fully satisfied with
their collaboration and communication technologies, their planned investment
in this area signifies a growing awareness of the impact digital collaboration
has on key performance factors. Chief among these is employee productivity.
The research shows that 98 per cent of Canadian and 95 per cent of U.S.
respondents see productivity as a key reason for further investment. Another
important factor cited by 95 per cent of Canadian and 88 per cent of U.S.
respondents is information management.
    There also are some interesting differences between how digital
collaboration is viewed in Canada versus the U.S. For example, more Canadian
companies see reduced network traffic, the ability to meet compliance
requirements, and improved security as key benefits. Increased job
satisfaction and improved time to market for products and services are
benefits highlighted by more U.S. companies.

    About the Research

    Coleman Parkes Research conducted the digital collaboration survey in
April 2007. Detailed interviews with CIOs and IT directors took place across
Europe, U.S. and Canada. Respondents were selected from among the top 250
companies in each region.

    About Avanade

    Avanade is a global IT consultancy dedicated to using the Microsoft
platform to help enterprises achieve profitable growth. Through proven
solutions that extend Microsoft technologies, Avanade helps enterprises
increase revenue, reduce costs and reinvest in innovation to gain competitive
advantage. Avanade consultants deliver value according to each customer's
requirements, timeline and budget by combining insight, innovation and the
talent of our global workforce. Founded in 2000 by Accenture and Microsoft
Corp., Avanade has more than 6,500 professionals serving customers in 22
countries worldwide.





For further information:

For further information: MEDIA CONTACTS: Avanade: Charlie Zaragoza,
(206) 239-5893, charliez@avanade.com; Edelman: Megan Hooper, (416) 979-1120
ext. 297, megan.hooper@edelman.com

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