Collaboration Now Essential for Business Innovation

David Bicknell provides a special report about the importance of collaboration in a tightening economic environment. In, collaboration is described as the next phase of the Internet, and a $34 billion market opportunity. Collaboration is no longer "nice to have". In a tightening economic environment, collaboration has become a competitive necessity, with technology playing a key role in delivering it. With the economic downturn, business and IT managers are all looking for solutions to get through the tough times. The use of open source collaboration solutions, which offer a combination of cutting-edge capabilities and lower operating costs, can afford benefits for companies looking for efficiencies. In this review, the burgeoning relationship between innovation and collaboration are examined key collaborative issues are put into context, such as the importance of ‘presence’ and whether unified communications can or should be delivered as a service.

With IT budgets largely holding up, despite the current economic times, collaboration and unified communications deployments continue to grow in the enterprise. According to US research group Nemertes, 84% of companies are now planning or deploying unified communications. Dispersed workgroup locations, rising travel costs, and new telepresence technologies mean more than 47% of IT executives say they are deploying or planning to deploy unified communications. For some, presence, rather than VoIP, is the real foundation for unified communications (UC). If UC is a platform, rather than a product, then the long term goal of UC should be to take tools and embed them into business applications which allow users to alter business processes and create new ones. Embedding such tools into applications allows us to automate or make more intelligent communication choices about the way we work, and presence is what provides the intelligence. This overview uses case study to answer the questions of how, what, why and when collaborative technologies should be used: to create innovation, empower individuals, generate cost savings and business competitiveness, and deliver communications on a global scale.

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