Web Collaboration: Hottest Support Technology for 2009
I promised to come back with more details from my 2009 Member Technology Survey, and this post is focusing on the #1 area of spend this year: Web Collaboration. Since I announced the survey results at TSW last month, I’ve had several emails and calls asking what exactly it means, and what is the value for service. I’ll try to address those questions here.
The 2009 Member Technology Survey was open to corporate and community members of the AFSMI, SSPA and TPSA. There were over 300 responses from SSPA members–the most ever for this annual survey. Thanks to everyone who participated–I’ve sent early copies of the reports to all respondents.
It is no surprise that overall spending was down this year, with technology budgets averaging about half of last year. But, and this is a big but, unlike other areas of the enterprise who are cut-cut-cutting, our survey showed that technology companies continue to make investments in core support technology and infrastructure, particularly in areas with strong ROI and big impacts to the customer experience. This chart shows the percent of members with approved budget in 2009 f0r new technology in the top spend categories.
So why, with all the economic problems and spending slow downs, do we still have 13% of member companies buying Web collaboration this year? Here are three reasons:
- It covers a lot of ground. There is a lot of functionality lumped into this category. The list includes: Web chat (agent to customer, agent to agent, agent to supervisor), proactive Web chat, screen sharing, page push, joint form fill, online meetings and Webcasting.
- There is tremendous ROI. With a push to do more work remotely, avoiding employee time and T&E involved in onsite visits, today’s tools give you much more access and control over remote systems, enabling proactive monitoring, remote fixes, and remotely delivered PS projects.
- Excellent customer experience. There are huge opportunities for improving service levels with Web collaboration. Expertise management allows you to see experts on any topic. IP presence awareness tells you which experts are online and available to chat. Group chat/collaboration allow you to pull an expert from anywhere in the globe into a customer session to instantly resolve a complex problem, avoiding escalation time and call backs. Longer term, I see this as a key solution to Multi-Vendor Support–online collab between key partners to solve a customer problem.
With built in Web cams on most laptops today, I also expect video to begin playing a bigger role. A great example is virtual conferences. As I write this, I’m attending a virtual analyst conference with Alcatel-Lucent. They are using an amazing platform from Unisfair, and the attendee experience is excellent.
Not only do I have live feeds of keynote presentations and breakout sessions, but I can visit booths in the virtual tradeshow, chat with other attendees, download white papers and slides, ask questions whenever I want, all from the comfort of my office chair.
What is your company doing with Web collaboration today, and what plans do you have for the future? I’d love to hear more real-world stories about how companies are using this technology. Please add a comment or drop me an email. And as always, thanks for reading!