Business Leaders Focus on Collaboration

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Collaboration in the Enterprise

Spending on the rise, but execs still worry about productivity.

In the wake of the economic downturn, more companies than ever are looking toward collaboration applications to help boost productivity at a time when there are fewer people on the job.

In fact, a new survey of 538 C-level executives conducted by Kelton Research on behalf of the IT services firm Avanade finds that 79 percent of them said their company was more open to new technologies following the recent economic turmoil, and that 75 percent intended to increase their spending on communications and collaboration technologies.

Markus Sprenger, a global solutions director for Avanade, said the survey shows a lot more focus on IT innovation as whole than most people might suspect in the current economic climate. But Sprenger adds that collaboration technologies allow companies to cut costs in many other areas to help pay for the investment.

At the moment, the survey also shows that most of the investment in collaboration technologies continues to go toward traditional e-mail and phone systems, but Sprenger says that interest in Web 2.0 applications and the next wave of Microsoft Office 2010 applications is very high.

At the same time, at least one in four of the executives surveyed were skeptical of new collaboration technologies in terms of their ability to waste more time rather than help employees use their time more efficiently, and about a third said they believe that individuals are less likely to solve problems on their own when they have access to a broad array of collaboration applications.

Nevertheless, Sprenger said he expects to see even faster rates of adoption of these tools as the industry as a whole moves toward more team-oriented applications that are increasingly being demanded with each successive wave of new, younger employees that routinely make use of these types of applications in their personal lives.