News Release

Employees Poised to Collaborate More as Enterprises Plan to Invest in Collaboration Technology During 2010

Study Finds That Medium to Large Enterprises Are Embracing Collaboration Technology to Improve Performance, but Some Workers Feel That Corporate Policies Inhibit Their Ability to Collaborate
Mar 23, 2010

SAN JOSE, Calif., and AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, March 23, 2010 – Cisco today announced the results of a global study that found that 77 percent of IT decision makers surveyed plan to increase their spending on collaboration tools this year, while employees feel that their ability to collaborate is constrained by corporate policies. More than a quarter of those who work at organizations that prohibit the use of social media applications admitted to changing the settings on their corporate devices to gain access, claiming they "need the tools to get the job done."

The research, titled "Collaboration Nations," investigates the benefits and challenges to successful collaboration in medium to large enterprises (those with more than 250 employees). The study, conducted by InsightExpress, a digital marketing research company headquartered in Stamford, Conn., surveyed 2,023 end users and 1,011 information technology decision makers (ITDMs) from 10 countries around the world.

IT Decision Makers Plan to Invest in Collaboration to Improve Business Performance

The research found that ITDMs recognize the importance of collaboration tools to the future success of their business, with India and China being the most progressive in adopting the technology. Consequently, many ITDM respondents said that they are planning to increase their spending on collaboration technologies over the next year, identifying video conferencing, Web conferencing and Internet Protocol telephony as primary areas of investment.

  • Globally, 96 percent ITDMs and end users recognize that collaboration tools have a role to play in the future success of their business.
  • Of those surveyed, 77 percent of ITDMs expect investment in collaboration tools to increase between now and October, and 56 percent expect their spending on collaboration tools to increase by 10 percent or more.
  • Productivity and efficiency were identified by both end users and ITDMs as the primary benefits of increased collaboration, with 69 percent of end users regularly using advanced collaboration tools, such as video and Web conferencing, to help them complete tasks at work more efficiently. 

End Users Disregard Policy in Order to 'Get the Job Done'

Employees identified a variety of frustrations with devices and applications at work. These include restrictions set by IT managers on the types of collaboration technologies that can be used at the workplace, a lack of integration among the applications, non-compatible formats (video, data, voice), and the limited number of collaboration tools at their disposal. This finding correlates with the fact that more than half of the ITDMs polled say they have a policy prohibiting the use of social media applications. However, in some cases workers are taking matters into their own hands: Half admit to accessing prohibited applications once a week, and more than a quarter admit to changing the settings on their devices to gain access in order to "get the job done."

  • Slightly more than half (52 percent) of organizations prohibit the use of social media applications or similar collaboration tools at work.
  • Half (50 percent) of the end users admit to ignoring company policy prohibiting use of social media tools at least once a week, and 27 percent admit to changing the settings on corporate devices to get access to prohibited applications.

End Users Benefit, but Process and Policies Impact Their Ability to Collaborate

The study also highlights how end users benefit from increased collaboration, but also identifies a need for some enterprises to adapt their corporate processes and culture to take successful collaborative working to the next level.

  • When asked to identify how collaboration benefits them, 45 percent of the end users pointed to improved productivity and efficiency, 40 percent noted they receive assistance in solving work-related problems, and 31 percent enjoyed accelerated decision making.
  • Ease of use (58 percent), the ability to communicate anywhere and at any time (45 percent), and features and functionality (37 percent) are the three most desired attributes of a device or application.
  • End users feel that elements of corporate culture can inhibit their ability to collaborate successfully: 46 percent feel that all decisions are made by people at the top of their organization, and 39 percent say colleagues are not willing to share information even when it does not benefit their own business unit.

The research is the second of a two-part series that Cisco has commissioned to explore the impact of social networking and collaboration in the enterprise. In January 2010, Cisco announced the findings from a third-party global study that explored how organizations use consumer social networking tools to collaborate externally. The research sample for the Collaboration Nation study consisted of responses from IT decision makers and business end users across the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Italy Russia, India, China and Japan, who completed an online survey in October and November 2009.

Supporting Quotes:

  • "Cisco's collaboration experience enables teams of people to find each other, share knowledge & expertise, create, publish, and work towards a common goal in a secure inter-company fashion" says Tony Bates, senior vice president and general manager, enterprise, commercial and small business. "Successful collaborative working practices can help enterprises increase efficiency and develop new ways of doing business."



Cisco, Collaboration, Collaboration technology, corporate culture, Cisco Collaboration Research, Collaboration Nations

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