Mobile devices and near-ubiquitous Internet connectivity have made it possible to work from almost anywhere, increasing productivity and enabling companies to tap into a talent pool without geographic boundaries. The key to success lies in ensuring that virtual teams are able to communicate and collaborate effectively. As a result, nearly 70 percent of IT professionals say that collaboration initiatives are a high priority or even essential to their organization’s strategy, according to a recent Spiceworks survey.
However, the survey also found that that IT professionals are in the dark about the true total cost of ownership (TCO) of collaboration. A surprising 56 percent of IT decision makers surveyed don’t know how much they’re spending on subscriptions and licenses for conferencing and collaboration solutions. Respondents also stated that TCO far exceeds subscription and license fees. Other factors contributing to the TCO of collaboration include:
- 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)
- Managing solutions (36 percent)
Part of the problem is that most organizations lack a unified strategy for communication and collaboration. According to the survey, organizations are using an average of 4.4 different solutions (web, audio, video, chat, etc.) across three different providers in an attempt to successfully meet the high demand for collaboration. Managing multiple systems not only increases the cost, but also creates other headaches for IT professionals including network limitations, service quality issues and management challenges.
Use of multiple solutions is widespread. Almost all (92 percent) of respondents have deployed or are considering using multiple collaboration solutions, and 66 percent are using multiple providers. The four most commonly used collaboration solutions are messaging (74 percent), web/screen share (72 percent), voice/audio (72 percent) and video (70 percent).
Cost is just one of the many collaboration challenges experienced. Other top challenges 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.
In order to get a handle on communication and collaboration costs, organizations should inventory the solutions in use, and determine how many licenses have been purchased as well as ongoing subscription costs. This will typically require a survey of end-users — in many cases, end-users adopt cloud-based collaboration tools on an ad hoc basis, outside the aegis of IT. The costs of these “shadow IT” services can quickly mount, particularly if they are not used regularly. Organizations can see immediate cost savings by canceling seldom used subscriptions and reallocating licenses that are no longer needed.
Next, organizations should determine what communication and collaboration tools are needed, and select a tool that delivers these capabilities from a common platform. ShoreTel Connect, for example, features voice, peer-to-peer video, presence, messaging, desktop sharing and other enterprise-class features that are accessed via desk phones, softphones and a mobile app. Whether deployed onsite or in the cloud, ShoreTel Connect provides a consistent experience that streamlines collaboration and ensures broad user adoption.
The IT team will appreciate the optimized performance, business continuity and built-in security of ShoreTel Connect. The solution is easy to administer and support, which is one reason why ShoreTel is recognized for the lowest TCO in the industry.
IPC has a proven track record of success helping organizations develop and implement an end-to-end collaboration solution. Let us show you how ShoreTel can help you reduce your collaboration TCO while improving the user experience.