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Study: Collaborative technology important to business

A new study shows that collaboration tools are playing a vital role in work life today. The study, conducted bywebinar Frost & Sullivan and sponsored by Verizon and Cisco, examined how professionals—including small business owners—get their work done by using advanced collaboration tools, such as voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), instant messaging, or teleconferencing.

The study showed:

• VoIP is leading the way for delivery of advanced communications and collaboration applications.

• Busy professionals report collaboration technologies can help manage stress and strain. More than 60% of survey respondents say they lead busy professional lives, and more than half say collaboration tools allow for greater balance between work and personal life and help them gain more control over their busy lives. More than half of professionals say communications technologies help them stay in the loop and keep business moving forward, allowing them to take advantage of opportunities as they arise, because they are connected wherever they go.

• Workers sometimes have a love-hate relationship with technology. The study showed 58% reporting there are times they don’t want to be reached. At the same time, 52% of respondents said the new communications devices allow workers to gain more control in their lives. Also, almost half (47%) said they could not do without the ability to conference remotely.

• Confidence in virtual meeting technologies is growing. Some 61% see collaboration technologies as reducing the need to travel for business. More than half think using conferencing tools – such as an audio conferencing, Web conferencing, or video conferencing are a good alternative to visiting business contacts face-to-face.

• Telecommuting is gaining traction. Almost half (47%) of respondents report having a formal telecommuting policy in place. However, less than a third (27%) telecommute at least once a week, and 22% telecommute on a daily basis. At the same time, 61% of respondents say they like to work from anywhere.

Frost & Sullivan in May 2009 conducted an online survey that gauged attitudes and practices within small and medium-sized businesses (50 to 999 employees) and enterprises (1,000 or more employees) in the financial services, government, health care, high technology, professional services, manufacturing and retail industries.

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