Survey Quantifies Huge Costs, Workflow Disruptions and Frustrations Caused By Fragmented Communications

The largest-ever survey of enterprise and contact centre employees and their workflows reveals the silent but staggering true costs of fragmented communications: Enterprises of 1,000 persons could leak nearly $13 million a year in lost productivity and avoidable expenses.

That's just one of many startling results from a recent, landmark in-depth poll of 517 communications end-users across North America and Europe conducted by independent Insignia Research of Toronto, Canada and commissioned by Siemens Enterprise Communications.

The survey report entitled "Measuring the Pain: What Is Fragmented Communication Costing Your Enterprise?" is the first to fully quantify the costs of the status quo - including workflow disruptions, added costs and associated frustrations to enterprises lacking unified communications.

It explored pain points at the individual, team and enterprise levels in terms of time and impact on serving customers as well as the frustration and anxiety to users and their teams.

A solid majority of the respondents (62%) identified themselves as being in customer service and sales roles, which directly connects the negative impact of disjoined communications systems on customer satisfaction.

In fact, the survey report discounted its opportunity costs results by 75 percent to keep its conclusions conservative.

Highlights of the survey included:

- Ninety-four percent of respondents reported waiting an average of 5.3 hours per week on information from others to complete tasks. In 1,000-employee enterprises this can translate to more than $9 million yearly in lost productivity based on a $37 weighted hourly wage. Taking a process view of this nearly universal pain point, the negative impact of 5.3-hour delays in customer-facing activities has larger implications on customer sales, service and revenue realisation.

- Respondents reported an average productivity loss of 7.8 hours a month at offsite locations because they lack the communication tools they have in their main office. Nearly a full day each month is lost because they are not properly equipped with effective, remotely-accessible collaborative communications systems. As workers continue to become increasingly mobile, the net effect of this can be dramatic. Fully weighted, the annual 1,000-person enterprise cost estimate exceeds $3 million.

- Enterprises are wasting at least $3,400 per person each year in unnecessary business travel expenses because of ineffective or non-existent collaboration with existing communications systems. Managers are forced to synchronise teams through expensive internal meetings requiring travel. In a 1,000-person enterprise, these costs can top $3.4 million a year.

"Never before has a study so clearly captured the extent of the frustration felt by individuals, managers and teams, and so completely quantified the extraneous costs leaking out of the enterprise as a result," said Jim Burton, principal of UC Strategies, a leading market research firm specialising in unified communications across the enterprise. "Aside from the hard costs uncovered in the survey, there are soft but very real costs in terms of customer responsiveness and satisfaction."

The solution, Burton said, is an enterprise-wide, unified communications platform like that reflected in the highly scalable Siemens Open Communications architecture. It is designed to unify enterprise communications, providing a rich user experience and fixed-mobile convenience anytime, anywhere.

According to Eve Aretakis, CEO, Siemens Enterprise Communications, North America, Siemens commissioned the independent survey to help its enterprise customers and the market realise the enormous costs of continuing the communications status quo in their businesses.

"To get the most conservative view, we asked the researchers to discount their soft-cost findings by 75 percent," she said. "Even then the soft costs work out to more than $8,400 per employee each year; factoring in the hard dollars of travel and communication expenses, the data shows an annual impact approaching $13,000 per employee no matter what size the enterprise.

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