To help us understand what business executives think about ‘the cloud’ and the impact of cloud collaboration to their businesses, we asked Forbes Insights to conduct research. In response, Forbes surveyed over 500 senior executives from global companies with sales ranging from $250 million to over $20 billion, and interviewed 15 executives. The study examined the ways business executives increasingly look at cloud collaboration as a way to increase productivity, accelerate business results, and enhance innovation and collaboration across borders and functions. We weren’t surprised by the positive response to cloud, but some new and very interesting findings opened our eyes.
The survey results show that cloud-based collaboration acts as a significant enabler of business success which is exactly what our customers tell us on a daily basis. Clouds accelerate the roll-out of collaborative technologies such as voice, video, and conferencing so that companies can improve the efficiency of their decision-making and the quality of their customers’ experiences. As clouds and macroeconomic factors increase the speed of business and collaboration, businesses look to clouds as a means to gain a competitive edge.
Executives are maximizing collaboration by using cloud-based technologies with internal teams to extend meetings to include remote participants and virtual teams, enable remote and mobile workers “as if in the office”, and incorporate video into meetings. Then they extend that cloud-based collaboration externally so they can also collaborate more effectively with customers, suppliers, and partners to improve their supply chain efficiency and time to market. The ability to collaborate effectively is a key driver of competitive advantage.
Let’s take a look at some specific findings:
- Cloud solutions accelerate business results. 64% of respondents say that cloud-based collaboration tools help businesses execute faster than would be possible otherwise. This can shorten time to market, quicken product upgrade cycles, and lead to faster responses to competitive challenges. The figure increases to 82% among “leaders”, those business and IT executives responding with significantly greater experience and familiarity with cloud-based collaboration tools and strategies than others in the survey.
- Cloud enhances collaboration across time zones and functional boundaries. 55% of those surveyed and 87% of “leaders” say that capabilities enabled by cloud-based solutions represent a true breakthrough in collaboration. Cloud-based collaboration tools enable a wide array of enhanced capabilities in areas such as communication, information sharing, tapping knowledge resources, and group problem solving.
- Cloud enables more-efficient business processes. 58% of respondent and 90% of “leaders” report that cloud-based collaboration has the potential to improve business processes. Business processes range across the company, including purchasing, manufacturing, marketing, sales and technical support.
- Cloud collaboration spurs innovation. 59% of respondents and 93% of “leaders” agree that cloud-based collaboration stimulates innovation. This is a result that is almost unavoidable as executives and workers are provided new and more effective ways of sharing information with more people both within and outside their organizations to enable new product or service delivery.
- Cloud is not solely an IT discussion. 75% of “leaders” say that non-IT executives are becoming more involved in the selection, implementation, and management processes relating to cloud-based collaboration tools. In short, cloud collaboration is not an IT discussion but a broader business discussion.
I encourage you to dive into the detail of the Forbes Insights’ study “Collaborating in the Cloud ” now. Consider how cloud collaboration can be an integral part of your company’s strategy.