Collaboration Apps Creating Productivity Concerns for IT Leaders: Study

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Unified communication and collaboration technologies are becoming more popular in enterprises, which may hurt productivity in the near term, says research issued last week by a service assurance and cybersecurity firm.

The results of a survey commissioned by Netscout, based in Westford, Massachusetts, revealed that more than nine in ten of the 300 IT leaders who took part in the study (93 percent) expressed concern that the technical challenges of unified communication and collaboration platforms — which include tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, Cisco Webex, and Google Meet — may temporarily impair productivity within their organizations.

A promising sign of this may be found at the support desks of such firms, among other places. The number of help desk issues linked to UC&C applications has grown in tandem with the usage of the tools. More than a third of those in the poll (37 percent) said that between 50 and 75 percent of all help desk queries are connected to unified communication and collaboration software.

However, even though the issues are resolved relatively quickly — more than a quarter of the survey sample (26 percent) reported that problems were resolved in minutes, and more than half (56 percent) said that they were settled in hours — they still have the potential to impact productivity negatively.

“The longer it takes for everyone to join a session, the more time is wasted by the people who were on time and connected,” Eileen Haggerty, Netscout’s area vice president for product and solutions marketing and one of the report’s authors, told. “The longer it takes for everyone to join a session, the more time is wasted by the people who were on time and connected.”

According to Ross Rubin, senior analyst at Reticle Research, a consumer technology consultancy business based in New York City, some of the growth in help desk tickets concerning UC&C applications may be explained by the apps becoming more popular. The increase in the frequency of the program, he said, is “likely” to be responsible.

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When IT departments get UC&C tickets, according to the report, the most prevalent issues include device configuration, screen sharing difficulties, and maintenance or upgrades, among other things. In addition, around one-third of firms get regular complaints of poor video quality, delays, poor audio quality, and difficulties connecting into UCaaS services.

Growing Pains

As Netscout’s Chief Operating Officer Michael Szabados said in a press release, “the data reveals that although UC&C systems continue to be vital for enterprises, growing pains persist.”

employees continue to be tormented by technological obstacles that impede their productivity,” he stated, “even as IT teams are put under increased pressure to identify and handle these issues promptly.”

Some businesses may be experiencing growing pains as a result of self-inflicted wounds.

“In the haste to collaborate, some companies delivered technology that enabled collaboration without providing the training or creating the culture that would enable the expected benefits to be realized,” observed Wayne Kurtzman, research director for communities and collaboration at International Data Corporation.

“It requires the same characteristics to build a community for work as it does to build a community in real life,” he said.

To collaborate effectively, “peer modeling and mentorship,” “onboarding,” a feeling of safety in sharing solutions, and a culture where it is apparent that activities take place in the collaborative space rather than through email are all required, according to the author.

Complexity Challenges

Rubin pointed out that complexity might be a problem when it comes to unified communication and collaboration systems.

According to him, “Slack and Teams have these flexible architectures that allow you to incorporate a wide variety of services into them.” “This raises their value, but it also increases their complexity,” says the author.

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It’s also not clear if the programs’ roots have penetrated the soil of user-friendliness. “These goods were developed by development teams, which are often technical in nature,” Rubin said.

As he went on to say, “there hasn’t been a strong emphasis placed on the simplicity of use.” To transform these apps into centers for any collaborative activity inside an enterprise, suppliers have emphasized integration.

Some manufacturers, he said, have attempted to increase the prominence of their collaborative applications inside their more extensive offers.

“What we’ve seen is an effort to push the apps closer to the forefront of the user experience,” he said.

According to the author, “Google, for example, is merging Meet and Chat into Gmail.” “In Windows 11, Microsoft is placing the Teams chat application on the taskbar.”

Collaboration Proliferation

According to the Netscout poll, IT executives value the user experience while using a UC&C application. They said that the user experience substantially influences the value of a UC&C product to them, with more than nine out of ten (91 percent) agreeing.

According to Haggerty, “management is quite worried about the user experience for their workers because if they’re suffering from anything that compromises the quality of conversations, videos, or collaborative services, it hurts their overall productivity.”

More than 90 percent of those who took part in the poll said that UC&C tools were vital to implementing their hybrid work policy.

According to the poll, UC&C tools are valuable to the company, and the report recommends that you go no farther than the number of devices in use.

Almost three-quarters of the firms that participated in the study (72 percent) support between three and nine UC&C technologies, with 20 percent using more than ten tools total.

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According to the report, the number of firms with more than $10 billion in sales quadrupled to 42 percent for companies with more than $10 billion in revenue.

However, the vast majority (86 percent) of respondents said they want to consolidate the number of UC&C platforms utilized by workers in the next year.

As Haggerty stated, “when the epidemic began, there were a lot of people who started utilizing free platforms like Google Meet, Zoom, and Slack.” “It seemed like we were in the Wild, Wild West.”

“Some of the techniques that have been developed as a result of the epidemic will be solidified,” she said. The number of corporations implementing company policy and telling employees, ‘You have to use this,’ will increase. Until recently, the rule has been “if you can acquire your job via an unofficial means, do it.”

Market Growth

Craig Roth, Mike Gotta, and Hai Swinehart of Gartner indicated that the Covid-19 outbreak impacted the direction of the social and collaborative software business, resulting in lower short-term expenditure but higher market maturity over the next several years.

According to the report, the net impact is likely to increase from an estimated US$3.5 billion in 2019 to $6.9 billion by 2024.

In addition, the report said that by 2025, roughly 65 percent of business application software companies would have included some social and collaborative software capability into their respective software product portfolios.

According to the report, this will be required to handle changes in the global world of work, which predicts that the proportion of knowledge workers working remotely will rise from 27 percent in 2019 to 45 percent in 2022.

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