Alcatel-Lucent has released findings of new research that shows the global workforce is struggling to keep up with high volumes of communications and needs access to better technology tools to effectively communicate and collaborate.
The findings come out of two global research studies the company commissioned in first quarter 2011 to better understand how communications technologies are being used to improve business performance. Nearly 2000 knowledge workers and more than 750 information technology executives from medium-to large-size organizations in 51 countries provided input.
Knowledge workers were asked to share their attitudes on employee engagement, productivity and communication technologies, while the IT executives responded to questions about challenges associated with implementing and supporting these advanced communications.
Collaboration Drives Productivity; Managing it Can Be Difficult
The study found that 74 percent of workers believe advanced communication technology, such as unified communications and video collaboration, could significantly increase their productivity and engagement yet less than one-third of these individuals claim to have access to the technologies they need to perform their jobs successfully.
Respondents specifically expressed frustration with virtual meeting tools that were considered inadequate, highlighting the need for more intuitive collaboration tools that enable workers to share knowledge more efficiently. In addition, more than half the workers surveyed believed the various communications channels need to be better coordinated so that conversations could span multiple people, media and devices, for example, escalating a business process from a text message to a video collaboration session.
Not surprisingly, 74 percent of the workers surveyed use smartphones, and nearly all of the IT organisations reported that they supported smartphone platforms. These devices are making workers more accessible, but are also raising expectations for technologies that enable more immediate access to people and information in the workplace.
The kinds of technologies identified as being important include unified communications, video conferencing and collaboration, instant messaging and internal social networking.
IT Organizations are Hindered by Existing Systems
Significantly, the study also found that while IT organizations have made strides in meeting workforce demands—and recognize the need for advanced communications and collaboration services—many are hindered by legacy infrastructure. The management of increasingly larger and more complex networks was identified as a critical challenge with current network management tools, and only 40 percent of the surveyed IT executives believe they have reasonably capable tools for managing Quality of Service (QoS) and application performance.
The study found that IT organisations are increasingly seeking unified management tools that span users, devices, applications, and infrastructure from a single platform. Some 57 percent of the IT executives indicated they would gain significant savings by replacing their current IT management systems with a tool that allowed them to manage users in a unified manner and provide communications and applications to them as services though any device.
“It is clear that innovations in consumer communications are impacting exchanges in the workplace. Today, both workers and IT organizations clearly recognize the need for improved communications and collaboration, but both are grappling with obstacles,” says Arnaud Kraaijvanger, Vice President Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. “Knowledge workers need better tools, and IT departments need easy and cost effective ways to deploy and manage. A key take-away here is that organisations that figure out how to roll out advanced systems will reap tremendous productivity benefits.”
MORE ARTICLES ON HUMAN CAPITAL MANAGEMENT