Now we’re talking: Survey reveals major adoption of virtual collaboration technology
In the U.K., an overwhelming nine out of 10 large companies are using some form of virtual collaboration technology to enhance the quality of their communications—both within and beyond the business. Of these businesses, nearly two-thirds have incorporated an element of video and/or Web collaboration, in addition to their established audio conferencing capability.
So finds a survey of U.K. manufacturing and service businesses undertaken by tech research specialist Vanson Bourne on behalf of unified collaboration and communications services provider Genesys Conferencing .
• 90 percent of businesses employing 1,000+ staff have adopted a conferencing/collaboration tool as part of their communications strategy. For businesses with 3,000+ staff, this rises to 96 percent.
• 74 percent of these enterprises use integrated multimedia conferencing tools to some degree, with only 26 percent exclusively using audio conferencing solutions. This is especially strong in manufacturing businesses, where 81 percent of respondents are using multimedia tools.
• Companies also are using virtual collaboration tools more frequently. Nearly one-third (29 percent) of respondent businesses are using virtual conferencing on a daily basis, with a further 45 percent every week.
• 30 percent of respondents say they would use their conferencing solution more frequently if it could more effectively replace face-to-face meetings, while 25 percent pointed to the need for peer groups to use it more often. The ability to see tangible evidence of cost savings and ascertain ease of use are seen as significant barriers to greater usage—by 22 percent and 14 percent respectively—with only 5 percent expressing an environmental concern in wanting to see tangible evidence of reduced carbon emissions.
The aforementioned priorities were exactly mirrored by those businesses that have yet to implement a virtual collaboration solution, but plan to do so within the foreseeable future.
"Companies have long recognised the value of collaboration tools," says Jerona Noonan, a director for Genesys Conferencing, "but for many businesses, usage was restricted to audio conferencing and a relatively small number of power users. Those businesses with easy-to-implement and easy-to-use multimedia tools such as GenesysMeetingCenter typically achieve greater benefits in terms of operational cost savings, lower carbon emissions, and improved work/life balance for their employees as a result of much higher [adoption] by staff across the enterprise."
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.