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Customer Service and Infrastructure Upgrades Top the Budget Leaderboard


Many businesses today view their technology infrastructure as an enabling platform that allows them to meet or exceed customer service requirements and as a competitive differential that allows them to have an advantage in their marketplace. Evidently, business decision makers agree with this thought because in a study conducted by Harris Interactive® in March 2007, they indicated customer service (54%) and upgrade of current infrastructure (47%) were the leading categories for technology investment in the months ahead. Considering that investments in sales/marketing, production and efficiency (39%) also made the list, it is safe to say that a state-of-the-art technology infrastructure is important to the future of many organizations.

These are just some of the results of the new study, which were presented through Harris Interactive’s latest technology research webinar. Harris Interactive fields ongoing studies on a range of topical issues within the technology industry and presents the information quarterly. The studies are conducted online with telecommunications business decision makers using an IT/Telecom Decision Maker Specialty Panel created and managed by Harris Interactive.

Unified Communications: Is it a way to enhance this infrastructure?

Unified Communications is a new and exciting emerging technology and service that is poised to provide business users with an easy and efficient way to manage a complex set of communications from a single user interface. To gauge awareness and the appeal of the technology, Harris Interactive surveyed 340 business decision makers (BDMs) and as expected, awareness is low with only 19 percent of BDMs indicating they are aware of the technology. However, when presented with a description of the concept and its potential benefits, 35 percent indicate it is “appealing” or “very appealing” and another 42 percent say that it is somewhat appealing.

For those businesses preparing to offer products and services in this area, they will be happy to know that cost-savings (21%) is just one of many characteristics and beneficial aspects that will drive adoption, followed by:

“provides a unified means of communications” (18%);
“flexibility of how one wants to be reached” (13%);
“people can be reached anywhere at any time” (13%); and
“increases work productivity” (10%).
So what does it all mean?

In today’s fast paced business world, executives, road warriors, and just about anyone with access to a cell phone and email are inundated with information from a variety of sources and formats. Typically, those email or voice messages require quick responses unless one is willing to risk losing a major business opportunity or create customer ill-will. Companies have no choice but to look for methods and technologies that will help them manage this growing flood of information.

Commenting on the survey results, Milton Ellis, Vice President and Sr. Consultant for Harris Interactive’s Technology Practice said, “Based on Unified Communications’ high level of appeal to BDMs, it appears that the technology could have a bright future ahead. Companies that don’t investigate or invest in this technology could find themselves playing catch-up to competitors that can respond more efficiently to the needs of the customer by deploying the technology.”


This survey was conducted online within the United States between February 13 and 19, 2007, among 340 adults (aged 18 and over) who have business decision making responsibility for their company’s telecommunications products and services. The data were weighted to business size classification.

All surveys are subject to several sources of error. These include: sampling error (because only a sample of a population is interviewed); measurement error due to question wording and/or question order, deliberately or unintentionally inaccurate responses, nonresponse (including refusals), interviewer effects (when live interviewers are used) and weighting.

With one exception (sampling error) the magnitude of the errors that result cannot be estimated. There is, therefore, no way to calculate a finite “margin of error” for any survey and the use of these words should be avoided.

With pure probability samples, with 100 percent response rates, it is possible to calculate the probability that the sampling error (but not other sources of error) is not greater than some number. With a pure probability sample of 350 adults one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results would have a sampling error of +/-5.2 percentage points. Sampling error for data based on sub-samples may be higher and may vary. However that does not take other sources of error into account. However that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

About Harris Interactive Technology Research

The Harris Interactive Technology Research group doesn’t just monitor and measure the industry. It interacts with the thought leaders who drive technology, telecom and e-business everyday and provides insights from a variety of vertical perspectives. Using the group’s unique knowledge, experience, and expertise in both the telecommunications and information technology sectors, Harris Interactive asks the right questions, confirms business issues, and designs and implements studies to provide clients with actionable results.


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