The Hidden Costs of Collaboration Solutions
Collaboration technology is key to efficient communication and productivity for a dispersed and global workforce. And with the enterprise collaboration market estimated to grow from $26.68 billion in 2016 to $49.51 billion by 2021, it shows no signs of stopping.
For individual users, collaboration technology can be a boon for productivity, especially considering the growing demand for remote working and the increasing usage of mobile devices and social media networks. But, it can also create an issue for IT organizations as teams move quickly to solve the problem at a micro-level – shadow IT.
There is a way for IT to drive a more integrated approach to collaboration and create value for their internal customers. For IT, a successful deployment of collaboration technology can help support the growing demand for workplace communication. Without a thoughtful approach, however, it can be a complicated process. In the findings below, you can see that many organizations have found this to be true.
Collaboration initiatives are highly important, but at what cost?
A new Lifesize survey conducted by Spiceworks reinforced the growth of the collaboration market, as well as the importance of collaboration initiatives. It is official — organizations are all in with collaboration tools and plan to invest even more in the coming year.
Nearly seven out of 10 IT professionals stated that collaboration is a high priority or even essential to the organization’s current strategy. Sixty-one percent of IT professionals surveyed feel that their organization excels at enabling end users to collaborate. And looking down the road, 68 percent of respondents say that even more focus and attention on collaboration solutions would be valuable to end users.
That’s all good news, but on the flip side, 56 percent of IT decision makers surveyed do not know how much they are spending on subscription and licenses for conferencing and collaboration solutions. That is a huge unknown and only one part of the total cost of ownership.
IT professionals are taking the path of most resistance
While the benefits are clear, deploying collaboration technology is not always a simple and easy process. The survey discovered that IT may be taking the path of most resistance, with 92 percent of respondents sharing that they have deployed or are considering using multiple collaboration solutions. On average, organizations are using more than four different solutions (web, audio, video, chat, etc.) across three different providers in an attempt to successfully meet the high demand for collaboration. The four most commonly used collaboration solutions are messaging (74 percent), web/screen share (72 percent), voice/audio (72 percent) and video (70 percent).
TCO far exceeds the subscription and license fees
Respondents stated that several other factors contribute to their total cost of ownership of collaboration solutions including the infrastructure to support solutions (52 percent), IT troubleshooting (49 percent), bandwidth requirements (48 percent), end-user troubleshooting (44 percent), deploying solutions (42 percent), training end users (41 percent) and managing solutions (36 percent).
Cost is just one of the many collaboration challenges experienced
Top challenges, other than cost, include network (28 percent) and bandwidth (27 percent) limitations, dropped or disconnected conferences (26 percent), security restrictions preventing file sharing (25 percent), poor video quality (22 percent) and compatibility issues (20 percent), among others. Because of these challenges, 60 percent of IT professionals are likely to evaluate new providers within the next 12 months, despite already having multiple solutions in use.
Cloud-based solutions are the way forward
Gartner predicts that the worldwide public cloud services market will grow 18 percent in 2017 to $246.8B, up from $209.2B in 2016. Another survey, “Building Trust in a Cloudy Sky: The State of Cloud Adoption and Security” found that in 15 months, 80 percent of all IT budgets will be committed to cloud solutions. This survey agreed with these findings — the cloud is the way forward. A large majority (57 percent) of respondents shared that they see cloud-based solutions as critical to their organization’s IT current strategy, and even more so in the future (74 percent).
There is no way around it. Collaboration solutions have dramatically changed the landscape of today’s workforce and will continue to do so.
IT has the very important, but tough, job of equipping an organization with the latest and greatest collaboration tools to meet the demands of 24/7 communication and connectivity. On top of that, IT must also track spending and deliver ROI on the solutions deployed across various aspects of the business.
For an organization to consider its collaboration solution a true success, IT must be aware of the real cost and challenges of multiple solutions in order to reach its full potential.
By Vineet Misra
As a respected tech veteran, Vineet has more than two decades of experience leading transformational IT, data center, security and cloud operations as well as strategic initiatives – from start-ups to large enterprises. Before joining Lifesize, he served as senior director of corporate IT, cloud operations and security with Domo, a high-growth SaaS startup specializing in business intelligence tools and data visualization. Vineet has also served in leadership positions overseeing IT and engineering, product and business operations at Cisco, Apple and Dell, respectively.