Survey: Collaborate to ace in business

A global survey finds that companies, with infrastructures that foster quality team collaboration, perform better in business.
Written by Jeanne Lim, Contributor

Companies that collaborate effectively tend to perform better, too, according to a new global survey conducted by consulting company Frost & Sullivan.

The study, which was commissioned by Verizon Business and Microsoft, surveyed 946 IT and business decision makers in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the United States in March. A third of the respondents came from the Asia-Pacific region, namely Australia, Hong Kong and Japan.

The researchers created an index to measure a company's relative "collaborativeness" based on two factors: collaboration capability and collaboration quality. Companies which performed better in business scored higher in the index, the survey found.

Collaboration capability measures the strength of an organization's orientation and infrastructure to facilitate collaboration using tools such as Web conferencing, e-mail, and instant messaging, while collaboration quality measures the extent of the organization's culture and processes to enable people to work better together.

In other words, collaboration capability is the infrastructure of the organization, but collaboration quality is how organizations use that capability, said Frost & Sullivan researcher Brian Cotton, during a Web seminar.

On the survey results, Jaclyn Kostner, author of a bestseller on collaboration, and an expert on high-performing virtual teams, added during the online discussion: "As a general rule, global companies that collaborate better, perform better. Those that collaborate less, do not perform as well. It's just that simple."

Besides collaboration, the other two key business performance drivers were a company's aggressiveness in pursuing new market opportunities and external market forces, the survey revealed.

These drivers were measured against the organizations' performance index, which took into account indicators such as profitability, quality, product innovation, and revenue growth.

The survey found that collaboration had twice the impact of a company's aggressiveness in pursuing new market opportunities, and it was five times more significant than the external market environment, on overall business performance.

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