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Quest for Integrated Collaboration Service

Examining the ever-changing landscape of online collaboration, and assessing the growth of social networks, Cisco announced findings from a recent market study about end-user collaboration applications and individual preferences within the workplace.

Within the group of respondents using social networking for work, fifty-nine percent say that their usage of social media applications has increased over the past year. The study also found the most frequently used application for collaborating with others is email (91 percent).

However, what people want from their email application is changing -- the findings highlight the potential for email service evolution.

The market study, conducted by Harris Research, surveyed more than 1,000 end-users from across the United States and found that email is the preferred collaboration application at work for a variety of reasons.

Navigating within the Comfort Zone
Respondents like the fact that email provides an easily-accessible record of communication and the ability to communicate with many people at once. Users also rank email prominently among various online collaboration tools because there is a high-level of comfort in using the application to easily communicate with others inside and outside their organizations.

However, the poll showed there are many problems associated with the way most email solutions function today.

Many survey respondents complained they receive too much irrelevant email (40%) and that they lack the ability to collaborate in real time (32 percent). End users also dislike the fact that they have very limited storage (25 percent) and that large volumes of email come into their inbox with no organizational structure (21 percent).

In addition to email, the Harris poll found that other applications being used by respondents to collaborate with others in the workplace include shared spaces (66 percent), voice calls and teleconferencing (66 percent), web conferencing (55 percent), video conferencing (35 percent), instant messaging (34 percent), and social networking (17 percent).

Half of those using social networking for work by-pass IT restrictions to do so. The study participants who prefer to use social networks indicated they would like to have control over who sees their content as well as be able to share with groups of users using different tools.

Designing an Intuitive Collaboration Experience

The respondents also indicated the desire to collaborate in real time without having to open up an additional application.

To address the needs of end users, Cisco is focused on providing an integrated collaboration experience between its recently announced hosted email solution and a variety of the company's other collaboration offerings including enterprise social software, unified communications, IP telephony, instant messaging, and presence.

This collaboration platform combines various data sources and allows communications to turn into shared content. This new type of collaboration -- plus the evolution of email -- helps enable better teamwork, whether ad-hoc or formal, internal or external, and will deliver improved inbox efficiency, via topic organization, to accommodate growing email volume.