Australian SMBs Reap Rewards in Cost Savings and Productivity from Online Collaboration With Cisco WebEx
Research into SMB Working Practices Shows Need for Greater Collaboration
SYDNEY, Australia – Cisco announced today that leading Australian small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are using Cisco WebExTM collaboration tools to aid their expansion, improve productivity and reduce expenses by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Two Cisco WebEx customers, StatSeeker and Kinetic Securities, are amongst the leading SMB adopters of collaboration technology in Australia and are benefiting significantly from using the network as the platform for communications. They are typical of the kinds of businesses identified in a recent Cisco WebEx survey of SMB attitudes towards improving work-life balance. The survey, released today, shows, for instance, that half of senior employees in Australian SMBs agree that remote working provides better work-life balance.
StatSeeker, a Brisbane network-monitoring company that employs 17 people, has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel avoidance by using Cisco WebEx collaboration technology. StatSeeker has also used the Cisco WebEx collaboration technology to underpin its expansion outside Australia, where it estimates that 98 per cent of its customer base operates.
Martin Reed, global operations manager at StatSeeker, said: “In order to avoid the expense of travelling back and forth overseas to meet with customers and prospects or setting up international offices, StatSeeker chose to sell directly to customers through online meetings and Web conferencing. We implemented Cisco WebEx Meeting Center to deliver this remote business model, which has helped enable our expansion into 22 countries. We use collaboration technologies to provide each of our customers daily personalised service and support, regardless of their location. Additionally, by significantly reducing the need for face-to-face meetings, we have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in travel expenses alone.”
Likewise, Kinetic Securities, a financial advisory firm with a team of 50 working from Sydney and the Gold Coast, uses online collaboration to increase the quality of its client interactions as well as to qualify new business leads. Technology from Cisco WebEx was implemented to help ensure it could frequently meet with and train clients via the Internet, helping Kinetic Securities break down communication barriers and significantly reduce travel costs. Cisco WebEx also helped Kinetic Securities to obtain new business and has revolutionised client interaction, making the company’s team more available, approachable and accessible.
Jay Pace, a private client advisor for Kinetic Securities, said: “Being able to connect with clients remotely at any time makes the company more approachable and accessible, giving us a competitive advantage. WebEx is also a great warm-up for prospects, allowing them to see us, hear about what we do, and what we can offer them, virtually simulating the face-to-face experience. We also use WebEx to communicate between our offices, especially about product updates. Overall, the best part is its cost effectiveness and allows us to gauge the prospects’ interest level, helping us decide whether it’s worthwhile to organise a physical meeting.”
Sara Adams, the Cisco Australia and New Zealand regional manager for SMB, said: “Cisco believes online collaboration, built on the network as the platform, is a key way for Australian SMBs to work smarter and better compete, particularly at a time of significant challenges in the economy. Whether it is communicating across time zones, increasing access to training, qualifying leads or giving employees the freedom to work from home, collaboration technology can meet the unique and diverse needs of SMBs.”
Adams said StatSeeker and Kinetic Securities are strong examples of advanced Australian SMBs who are using online collaboration technology to grow their businesses and simultaneously meet their flexibility and productivity needs.
To further understand the collaboration needs of Australian SMBs, Cisco has undertaken market research into the market, and today released the results of the first phase.
In January 2009, Sweeney Research surveyed 400 senior employees at Australian businesses with between 20 and 199 employees. The survey results showed that SMB leaders are looking for more flexibility in where and when they do their work but not at the expense of productivity or of the quality of interactions with colleagues, customers and prospects.
Key findings of the SMB working practices survey include the following:
* Half of SMB senior employees agree that remote working provides a better work-life balance. Those SMB leaders with younger employees (18- to 39-year-olds) and those that have children at home are more likely to agree.
* One in 10 spends more than four hours a week travelling to and from meetings.
* One in five commutes more than one hour every day to work.
* They work away from their primary workplace an average of five times per month, with the owners or partners of SMBs working away from the primary workplace even more frequently (35 per cent do so at least three times a week).
* Nearly all have worked overtime, with almost half working outside of their normal working hours every day.
* Also more than half take work home at least once a week, with 16 per cent taking it home every day.
* The majority consider the morning their most effective time of the working day.
* Business processes they identify as the most time consuming are preparing reports and presentations, attending internal meetings, training other employees, editing and approving documents, travelling, and attending external meetings.
About the Research
Most of the research respondents were male (70 per cent) and most were in their 40s and 50s (64 per cent), which is a reflection of the Australian SMB senior employee profile. Almost all senior SMB employees (95 per cent) work in an office, with less than one in ten usually working from home. Over half (55 per cent) the respondents had children living at home, one in three were from NSW and the ACT and one in four were from Victoria and Tasmania. Industries represented in the sample included service and consultancy (23 per cent), manufacturing (16 per cent), construction (13 per cent) and retail (11 per cent).
Sweeney Research is a leading Australian full service research agency with offices in Sydney and Melbourne. For more information about Sweeney, visit http://www.sweeneyresearch.com.au/
Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, visit http://newsroom.cisco.com.
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