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July 30, 2015

IT ups investment in video for productivity gains

Don't overlook tech in the productivity puzzle.

By Alexander Sword

Video conferencing and other technologies could be on course to significantly boost UK productivity.

59 percent of UK business users believe that video conferencing has increased employee productivity within their business.

The survey from Blue Jean also revealed that 67 percent of IT decision-makers believed that video conferencing increased internal morale and strengthened intra-organisational relationships.

In addition, 82 percent agreed that video conferencing reduced the chances of miscommunication in the business.

Despite these benefits, only 41 percent of respondents argued that their video conferencing hardware was adequate to achieve their business goals.

Kable‘s ICT Customer Insight survey of 2685 respondents suggests that this figure could rise, however; it found that 61.8 percent had prioritised web or video conferencing for investment in the next two years.

Ximo Villarroya, Partner, Livingstone, said, "Communication can present challenges for any business, especially those with offices around the world.

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"Using the right video conferencing tools improves interaction between international staff, which is vital in building strong, meaningful business relationships. Without it, organisations are missing out on a real business trick."

One of the major gains of video conferencing include a greater capacity for flexible working. According to UC Expo’s ‘State of Unified Communications and Collaboration’ report, 48 percent of British workers and 64 percent of C-suite executives believe that some form of flexible working would boost productivity.

Recent research from O2 concurred with these views, finding that 46 percent of employees and 68 percent of senior managers believed that breaking a 9 to 5 work pattern created greater success and efficiency.

"Historically, remote working was seen as a privilege that was only afforded to senior staff and directors," commented Alex Tebbs, Sales Director at VIA. "Letting your employees work from home on a regular basis was viewed as a risk, because of a lack of visibility and concerns over productivity."

"However, as a result of the digital revolution, businesses can now deploy unified communications solutions to boost connectivity between workforces that are spread across different locations, including at individual homes."

Another major contributor to productivity was mobility hardware and software, with 31 percent of respondents arguing that technology such as smartphones and collaboration software helped them to save time in their working week.

"The hot topic in businesses right now and perhaps even more broadly is the balance between austerity measures and productivity gains, organisations are doing everything they can to help drive this and move forward efficiently," said James Campanini, VP and GM EMEA of Blue Jeans Network.

Campanini added: "Without the right Information Technology services in place, businesses can really hold themselves back. Our research has found that 34 percent say that an IT person often has to set-up meetings. Organising and setting up a video call should not be a difficult task and IT resources should be better deployed."

George Osborne emphasised productivity in his recent budget, announcing investment in the UK’s infrastructure. According to figures from the OECD, the UK is facing an output gap of 0.6 percent in 2015, set to fall to 0.4 percent in 2016.

Blue Jean’s research polled 116 IT and Operations decision-makers in the UK.

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