Collaboration Apps Creating Productivity Concerns for IT Leaders: Study

The increasing use of unified communication and collaboration tools in organizations could affect productivity in the short term, according to a study published last week by a cybersecurity and service assurance company.

In a survey commissioned by Netscout, of Westford, Mass., more than nine in 10 of the 300 IT leaders who participated in the study (93 percent) revealed they were concerned about the technical challenges of unified communication and collaboration platforms, which include tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, Cisco Webex, and Google Meet – These can temporarily affect productivity within your organizations.

An indicator of that can be found in the help desks of those organizations. As the use of UC&C applications increased, so did the number of help desk tickets related to the tools. More than a third of survey participants (37 percent) noted that between 50 and 75 percent of all help desk requests are related to unified communication and collaboration software issues.

Although problems are resolved relatively quickly, more than a quarter of the survey sample (26 percent) said that problems were resolved in minutes and more than half (56 percent) said they were resolved in hours, still they have the potential to reduce productivity.

“The longer it takes for all members to join a session, the more time you lose from people who were on time and online,” Eileen Haggerty, vice president of product and solutions marketing at Netscout and one of the authors, told TechNewsWorld. Of the report.

Some of the increase in help desk tickets involving UC&C applications could be expected, reasoned Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Grid Research, a consumer technology consulting firm in New York City. “This is likely due to the increase in the prevalence of the software,” he told TechNewsWorld.

The study noted that when IT departments receive tickets from UC&C, they most commonly involve device configuration, screen sharing challenges, and maintenance or updates. Additionally, about a third of organizations frequently receive reports of poor video quality, lag, poor audio quality, and an inability to log into UCaaS services.

Growing pains

“Research shows that while UC&C platforms remain critical for organizations, the growing pains continue,” Netscout COO Michael Szabados said in a press release.

“Employees remain plagued with technical challenges that limit their productivity,” he continued, “even when IT teams are under additional pressure to diagnose and resolve these issues in a timely manner.”

Those growing pains may be due to self-inflicted injuries for some companies.

“In the rush to collaborate, some companies delivered technology that enabled collaboration without training or the culture necessary to support the expected benefits,” observed Wayne Kurtzman. IDC director of research for communities and collaboration.

“Creating a community for work requires the same elements as creating a community in real life,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“Effective collaboration requires peer modeling and mentoring, onboarding, a sense of security when sharing solutions, and a culture that is clear that activities are happening in the collaborative environment and not in email,” he said.

Complexity challenges

Rubin noted that complexity can be a problem with unified communication and collaboration programs.

“Slack and Teams have these extensible architectures where you can integrate a wide range of services,” he explained. “That broadens its usefulness, but it also increases its complexity.”

The roots of the programs also do not extend to user-friendly soil. “These products started with development teams, which tend to be technical,” Rubin said.

“There really hasn’t been a focus on ease of use,” he continued. “There has been an increased focus on integration as vendors try to turn these applications into hubs for any kind of collaborative activity within an organization.”

However, some vendors have tried to give their collaboration applications more visibility in their broader offerings, he added.

“What we’ve seen is an attempt to bring applications more to the front and center of the user experience,” he observed.

“Google, for example, is integrating Meet and Chat into Gmail,” he said. “Microsoft is putting Teams chat on the taskbar in Windows 11.”

Collaboration proliferation

The user experience with a UC&C application is very important to IT leaders, according to the Netscout survey. More than nine in 10 of them (91 percent) said that the user experience significantly affects the value of a UC&C tool for them.

“Management is very concerned about the user experience for their employees because if they suffer from something that impairs the quality of calls, videos or collaborative services, it will all affect productivity,” Haggerty said.

More than 90 percent of the survey participants also noted that UC&C tools were important to their hybrid work policy.

To demonstrate the value of UC&C tools to the business, the survey recommended looking no further than the number of tools in use.

Nearly three-quarters of the organizations in the survey (72 percent) support between three and nine UC&C tools, while 20 percent use more than 10 tools.

The study added that for companies with revenues of more than $ 10 billion, the figure of more than 10 more than doubled to 42 percent.

Meanwhile, 86 percent of respondents overall said they plan to consolidate the number of UC&C platforms used by employees in the next year.

“When the pandemic started, a lot of people started using free tools like Google Meet, Zoom and Slack,” Haggerty explained. “It was like the Wild West.”

“Some of the tools collected during the pandemic are going to be consolidated,” he said. “More companies will enforce corporate policy and say, ‘You have to use this.’ So far, if you can get your job using an unauthorized program, go for it. “

Market growth

Gartner, in a forecast analysis by Craig Roth, Mike Gotta and Hai Swinehart, explained that the course of the social and collaboration software market was altered by the Covid-19 pandemic, which decreased spending in the short term but increased market maturity. .

The net effect is expected growth from an estimated $ 3.5 billion in 2019 to $ 6.9 billion by 2024, he noted.

By 2025, he continued, nearly 65 percent of enterprise application software vendors will have included some form of collaboration and social software functionality in their software product portfolios.

That will be necessary to adapt to changes in the global world of work, he added, as the proportion of knowledge workers working remotely will rise from 27 percent in 2019 to 45 percent in 2022.

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