Business Communication Tools Usage Trend For 2015

A study recently conducted by uSamp Research on behalf of a cloud phone technology provider looked into the trends that are influencing workplace communication and how the evolution of tools is changing the landscape of business communication. For the study, the researchers surveyed 508 workers at the manager, director and vice president levels at businesses in United States. Here is a brief on the various inferences made from the study:

In-Person Communication No Longer In Vogue : What do professionals at the workplace prefer – meeting colleagues in person and getting stuff done, or do they prefer the various communication channels? The uSamp study shows that a stunning 95% of the respondents chose workplace communications over in-person meetings. Of this, 48% of the respondents preferred emails while 20% preferred calling over mobile phones. Desk phones were preferred by another 10% while 8% each preferred texting colleagues or scheduling web meetings.

Real-Time Communication Is In : Over the past decade, unified communications technology has made it possible for non real-time communication platforms to be accessed on a real-time basis. Companies like AllStream allow users to broadcast messages via multiple channels right from the IP based business phones to PC notifications, text messages  and email simultaneously. The availability of such features has made people favor real-time communications over non real-time alternatives. 82% of respondents from the study preferred receiving text messages over voicemails. As a matter of fact, 36% of the surveyed participants confided to have deleted voicemails without listening to them.

Internal Communication Is Critical : Close to 44% of the respondents believe that the business communication tools available today are geared at communications outside the workplace and need similar communication tools for intra-office communications. With remote working on the rise, respondents believe tools that enable better communication with co-workers is paramount to an efficient and productive workplace. These respondents also felt Skype as a medium to communicate with fellow workers was not optimal.

Multi-Tasking Of Devices : Even till a decade back, every worker had an assigned computer that was their only medium to engage in the workplace. However, that has changed drastically and nearly 85% of the participants in the study revealed that they used more than one device at work. This includes the use of a workplace computer, a smartphone and another workstation that they accessed while working from home. 32% of the respondents used three or more devices for work related activities.

Other significant take-aways from the study:

  • 97% of respondents believe that their communications impact their daily tasks
  • 32% believe they will need new business communication tools for remote working in 2015
  • 21% want their communication tools to enable them to have more time off

SaaS Enterprise Content Management Growth Study

Over the past decade, the line between enterprise content management and retail products has been steadily shrinking. CMS tools like WordPress and Drupal are equally popular among both individuals as well as among enterprises. On the other hand, tools like SharePoint that offer a vastly sophisticated application are popular among enterprises. According to a recent study conducted by TechNavio, the growth of SaaS based enterprise content management systems (ECM) is expected to continue over the next few years.

Here are a few snapshots from the TechNavio study:

Growth Rate: The compounded annual growth rate of SaaS-based ECM between 2013-2018 is expected to be 31.1%
Market Share: With rise in SaaS ECM, the market share of on-premise ECM tools are expected to naturally come down from the dominant 90.73% that it enjoys today.

The results from the TechNavio study are pretty much in sync with the predictions made by Radicati in their study report last year. In their study, Radicati made the prediction that the revenues from the Enterprise Content Management market will grow from $5.1 billion to $9.3 billion between 2013 and 2017. Given that this is for the entire market, the emerging SaaS platform is expected to be much higher than on-premise ECM that, with a 90% market share, is likely to grow much slower.

There is however a slight bit of disconnect between what TechNavio suggests and the results from a Gartner study published last year. In that report, Gartner had predicted that 12% of the surveyed enterprises use cloud-based ECM tools for their requirements. That is distinctly higher than the less than 10% market share that TechNavio had predicted in their study. None of the reports talk about the specific tools or versions of the software. Business that have migrated their SharePoint to the latest version enjoy easier integration with Microsoft’s other cloud tools like Office 365 and Yammer.

As all these study reports show, enterprise content management appears to be on the rise. With more and more business transactions moving online, the need of the hour is to deploy an agile and scalable solution. With SaaS based ECM, this is much easier. However, on-premise ECM comes with an advantage of high customization that a SaaS solution may not always provide. The future belongs to the platform that can show return on investment to businesses from their content marketing and management.

B2B Digital Marketing Trend

According to a study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, an increasing number of B2B companies now rely on digital marketing; especially content marketing to reach out to customers. Here are some interesting statistics from the study

Factor Representation
Content marketing as % of marketing budget (2012) 33%
Content marketing as % of marketing budget (2011) 26%
% marketers planning an increase in 2013 54%
Number of B2B marketers using content marketing 91%
Average number of content marketing tactics 12

Distribution of Content marketing Usage

Tactic used Usage (in %)
Social media (non-blog) 87%
Website articles 83%
eNewsletters 78%
Blogs 77%
Case studies 71%
Videos 70%
Articles on other websites 70%
In-person events 69%
White papers 61%
Webinars/Webcasts 59%
Research reports 44%
Microsites 40%
Infographics 38%
Branded content tools 38%
Mobile content 33%
eBooks 32%
Print magazines 31%
Books 29%
Virtual conferences 28%
Podcasts 27%
Licensed/syndicated content 26%
Mobile apps 26%
Digital magazines 25%
Print newsletters 24%
Annual reports 20%
Games/Gamification 11%

So as you can see, besides a few offline strategies, a majority of them are online. This is despite the fact that a good percentage of B2B leads still come from offline means. One of the primary reasons for marketers to still deploy digital marketing is to create better buzz for their offline events like trade shows. Trade show exhibitors are now regularly known to create greater buzz for their trade show booths through social media for increased leads and conversions.

Popularity of Social Media Among B2B Marketers

The study of the B2B marketers showed the following distribution in interest among the various social media channels.

Social media Popularity
LinkedIn 83%
Twitter 80%
Facebook 80%
YouTube 61%
Google+ 39%
Pinterest 26%
Slideshare 23%
Vimeo 12%
Flickr 10%
StumbleUpon 10%
FourSquare 8%
Instagram 7%
Tumblr 7%
Quora 6%

Classification of B2B Industries Using Social Media

It would be interesting to study the industries that these B2B industries that use social media fall in. According to the CMI study, this is how the classification stands:

Industry Share of the pie
Advertising/Marketing 25%
Consulting 12%
Software 12%
Manufacturing 6%
Online services 6%
Publishing/media 5%
Business services 5%
Healthcare/Medical 4%
Banking/Accounting 3%
Other 22%

Online Degrees And Certificates Growth Rate

Over the past 5 years, there has been a surge in the number of online degrees and certificates being offered by universities. There are two reasons to it. Firstly, more and more universities today are offering professional certificates instead of degrees. According to GeorgeTown University Center, professional degrees are a $140 billion business which was hitherto catered to primarily by community colleges. Most of the students who take up certificates are in mid-career positions who can afford the costs unlike the typical degree students.

The second reason why there is a surge is because of the booming internet education industry. MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is a massive industry where an unlimited number of students are provided education via the internet. Examples of such courses include those offered on websites like Udemy and Khan Academy. Besides these services offered by non-educational organizations, regular universities too offer MOOCs today. In the United States, MOOC-based degrees and certificates are offered by a number of universities including Stanford, University of Michigan, Princeton and GeorgeTown.

A number of courses, particularly those targeting entrepreneurs and business owners are now available online. For example, a Business essentials and planning course offered by Butler university extends over a 32 week period and is targeted at mid-career professionals.

According to a research conducted by Babson Survey Research Group, the growth rate of online degrees has been on the rise. In 2003, just around 2 million students enrolled in online courses (11.7% of total enrollments). By 2011, this number had surged well beyond 7 million (32% of total enrollments). In terms of perception of education quality too, online courses seem to be improving.

The Babson Survey of academic leaders in 2003 revealed than 15% of them felt online courses had a superior quality than traditional courses. By 2012, this figure had breached 20% figure with another 60% opining that these courses at least had the same quality as regular courses.

However, one of the biggest hurdles to greater popularity of online courses appear to be in their overall acceptance. The survey showed that the percentage of academics accepting online courses as a valuable alternative has stayed around the 25% mark through this past decade.

With wider proliferation of the internet and the general popularity of services like Udemy and Codecademy, it will be interesting to see how much popularity online courses gain over the next decade or two. This could be a defining moment in the way the students of tomorrow gain education. What are your thoughts?

The Growth Of E-Signature Market

E-Signatures are a way to speed up legal paperwork by replacing physical contract documents with electronic alternatives. In this case, the signatures are made electronically by the parties involved in a safe and secure manner. Besides this, e-signatures are also seen to be massively cheaper than physical paperwork. In a study on the benefits on e-signatures, Ombud Research came up with the following numbers:

Parameter Average Change
Turnaround time 80% savings
Cost $20 per document less
Customer Loyalty 5x increase

According to a report on Celent, the e-signature industry has grown multifold in the past five years. The usage by life insurance companies has increased from 47% in 2007 to 74% in 2013. Even the US army today has deployed an esignature solution from Silanis for their over 1 million personnel. Here is how the various e-signature approaches have grown.

E-signature type 2007 2013
Signature pad at POS 34% 36%
PKI 34%
Voice signature 30%
Clickwrap 34% 70%
Handwritten mouse signature 15%
Username & pin 45%
Shared secrets 15%

Research firm, G2 Crowd reviewed the market share held by various e-signature providers among small business (1-50 employees), medium (51-1000 employees) and Enterprise (>1000 employees) which showed the following results

Provider Small Medium Enterprise
Echosign 34% 43% 23%
DocuSign 41% 33% 26%
Silanis 34% 33% 33%
AssureSign 21% 43% 36%
Right Signature 53% 27% 20%
Sertifi 31% 31% 38%

In terms of deployment method (cloud vs. on-premise), this is how it worked out:

Provider Cloud On-premise
Echosign 77% 23%
Docusign 77% 23%
Silanis 79% 21%
AssureSign 100% 0%
Right Signature 75% 25%
Sertifi 85% 15%
Average 85% 15%

In terms of user ratings and recommendations, the G2 Crowd found the following

Rank, Provider, % customers likely to recommend
1, Silanis, 95%
2, AssureSign, 88%
3, Sertifi, 87%
4, Right Signature, 86%
5, Docusign, 81%
6, Echosign, 76%

Oracle Market Share, Revenues And Performance – 2013

There have been a plethora of new-school Fortune 500 tech companies that are based on the internet and gadgets. However, Oracle continues to be one of the biggest software companies in the world. Redwood Shores based Oracle is currently ranked 80 in the list of the biggest companies in the world. Here are some key metrics about Oracle that we have been able to gather.

Year Oracle's position in Fortune 500
2012 82
2013 80

Growth over the last year

Year Growth rate
2012 7%
2013 8%
Last decade 14% CAGR


Software vs. Hardware

Software continues to be one of the major growth drivers for the company. According to the most recent press statement, software contributes close to 75% of the overall revenues. Of this, license updates and software upgrades of JD Edwards and other proprietary software contributes to more revenue than the sale of new software licenses.

Business component Jun-Aug 2013 Revenues YoY change
New software license $1.653 billion 5% growth
Software license update $4.431 billion 7%


In the hardware business, Oracle isn’t doing so well. Here are some crucial numbers mined from the latest reports. For a perspective, most of these revenues are gained from components of business Oracle got after acquiring Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion.

Business component Jun-Aug 2013 Revenues YoY Change
Oracle Servers $669 Million 14% drop
Hardware support $592 Million 3% growth
Gross profit margin 61.9%


Oracle Ranking & Market Share In Various Businesses

Despite investors losing interest of late, Oracle continues to be one of the largest software companies in the world. Here is the market share of Oracle in some of the business it operates.

Business/Product Rank/Market share
Software company Number 2
RDBS Database 48.3% revenue (Number 1)
ERP (JD Edwards) 13% (Number 2)
Business Intelligence 14.9% (Number 2)

VOIP Market Statistics And Projections – 2013

An eMarketer report in 2008 predicted the number of VOIP subscribers to reach 196.3 million worldwide by 2012. It should be interesting to look at these figures with the benefit of hindsight. According to a report released by Point Topic earlier this year, we seem to have missed those numbers quite significantly. According to the report, the total number of VOIP subscribers by the end of 2012 stood at 151.5 million. This is how the numbers stack up when distributed geographically

Region Market Share
North America 25.1%
America (others) 4.5%
Asia-East 35.7%
East Europe 1.2%
Rest of Europe 33%
Oceania 0.5%

So as you can see, VOIP is still strongly associated with the developed world and regions in Asia that have always been strong in the area of telecommunications. The report lists the following countries as the largest in the VOIP market.

Country Subscribers in millions (Q1 2013)
USA 34.21
Japan 30.99
France 22.48
South Korea 12.54
China 11.85
Germany 11.05
Brazil 5.30
Netherlands 4.86
Canada 4.73
UK 4.17

However, in terms of percent growth, emerging countries rule the roost. Lithuania, Puerto Rico, Poland, Ireland and Brazil form the top 5 in this list. According to Infonetics, VOIP is expected to be an $80 billion industry by 2017. This would mean a 7% compounded annual growth rate from 2012. This is expected to be primarily driven by businesses since residential connections are expected to only grow at 3% CAGR during this period. The report notes that SIP trunking is one of the popular growth areas have risen 23% from the second half of 2012 to the first half of 2013.

The Infonetics report further looks into the VOIP equipment providers who have largely benefitted from this growth. Here are the largest 5 providers in terms of global revenue share

Rank Provider
1 Huawei
2 Alcatel-Lucent
3 Genband
5 Acme Packet

Despite the bullish growth projections, the market itself is reportedly under-served according to the New York based Eastern Management group. In their research, the firm projects the number of SIP phones sold to double between now and 2018. Going by these metrics, the firm notes that new entrants could easily take up to 10% market share.

Given these fast changing numbers, it would be interesting to revisit these numbers in a couple of years from now to see how things have changed.

ERP Implementation, Budgeting & Savings Related Statistics For 2013

A survey report released by Gartner earlier this year noted that the ERP market had a sluggish growth last year clocking a rate of just 2.2%. Despite this, the growth of SaaS based ERP solutions are expected to grow at a healthy pace to reach 17% of the market by 2017 (12% in 2012). These projections are further strengthened by a report released by Panaroma Consulting. In their annual ERP report for 2013, the firm has come up with some pretty interesting statistics and projections. Here is a rundown of the various results from the survey.

Type Of ERP Solution Used

A whopping 61% of the firms still use on-premise ERP systems. While this could be disheartening to the proponents of cloud based enterprise systems, what this also reflects is the tremendous potential that cloud ERP solutions have for the future. Here is the market share of the various ERP systems as noted by Panaroma in their report.

ERP System Market Share
On-premise 61%
SaaS 14%
Cloud ERP (hosted and managed off-site) 12%
Others 13%

Reasons Why Companies Are Still Skeptical About Cloud ERP

Most discussions on why cloud ERP are still not dominant veer towards risks like data loss. However, the research reports points out that one of the biggest reasons is lack of knowledge about service offerings. This is a very interesting tidbit since cloud ERP providers only need to enhance their marketing efforts to start seeing much improved adoption rates from businesses.

Reason Percentage of respondents
Risk of security breach 32%
Low awareness 32%
Risk of data loss 17%

Cost Savings From Cloud ERP Migration

One of the biggest advantages to migrating to cloud ERP systems is definitely the cost factor. A survey of various businesses who have made this migration show that the cost savings are pretty decent.

Cost savings in % Percentage respondents
0-20% 60%
21-40% 24%
41-60% 8%
61-80% 0%
>80% 8%

Use Of ERP Consultants

A lot of businesses make use of third party ERP consultants to help them with implementing the system. For example, ERPGuru is a NetSuite partner in Canada that helps in implementing and supporting the NetSuite cloud based business management software. The Panaroma Consulting report notes the use of consultants during the various phases of the project:

Project Phase Consultants employed
Planning 35%
Selection & Purchasing 35%
Implementation 28%
Post Implementation 2%

ERP Implementation Budgeting

One of the concern areas for businesses during implementation of such projects is the overall cost and how it impacts the budgeting. According to the Panaroma report, the implementation of ERP was on budget only around 35% of the time.

Budgeting Occurrence
On budget 35%
25% over budget 31%
26-50% over budget 16%
51-75% over budget 4%
>76% over budget 2%
Under budget 12%

Project Schedule

After budgeting, the next big concern for businesses is whether or not the implementation happens on time. The report reveals the following data.

Duration Occurrence
On Schedule 34%
<25% over schedule 27%
26-50% over schedule 10%
51-75% over schedule 12%
>76% over schedule 12%
Earlier than scheduled 5%

Online MBA – Demographic Profile & Growth Trend

With a slowing economy, the demand for higher education has been on the rise since more and more people seek to hone their academic profile. Considering that the current physical infrastructure of educational institutions may not be sufficient to cater to this ever-growing demand, more and more universities are now looking at online courses to reach out to a wider base of students. According to the 2012 Application Trends Survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), over 66% of the surveyed institutions have reported an increase in applications to their online MBA program in 2012 compared to 2011. This is in stark contrast to the Full time courses where only 42% of the surveyed institutions have reported a growth in applications.

Demographic Profile:

Interestingly, domestic applications have shown a higher growth in demand compared to foreign applications. According to the report, over 45% of the surveyed institutions reported a growth in applications from domestic candidates where as only 41% of those reported a similar increase from foreign applications. The report also says that the number of applications from men was seen to have risen in the case of 45% of the institutions.

Most MBA institutions, including those offering full time conduct special outreach programs targeting specific segments of candidates to their programs. For example, an institution offering healthcare MBA might want to specifically target health professionals for their MBA program. The GMAC survey notes the following three segments as the most popular categories in the outreach programs conducted by online MBA institutions.

1. Working professionals
2. Military
3. Undergraduate students

Tuition Assistance For Online MBA Programs

GMAC also studied the kind of tuition assistance offered to these students. For online MBA, here is how the various options stacked up (numbers may not add up to 100% since some students may be offered more than one kind of assistance):

No assistance : 52%
Scholarships : 30%
Assistantships : 19%
Reduced tuition : 4%
On-campus work study : 4%


Here is a gist of the online MBA landscape as reported by the GMAC survey.

Work Experience

No experience : 6%
< 1 year : 4%
1-3 years : 13%
3-6 years : 24%
6-10 years: 25%
> 10 years: 30%


<= 22 years : 2%
22-25 years : 18%
26-30 years : 28%
31-34 years : 17%
35-39 years : 15%
>= 40 years : 19%

Geographical Location

Local : 32%
National : 58%
International : 10%


Male : 57%
Female : 43%


Domestic : 87%
Foreign : 13%

Most Visited Websites At Work

Managed security company, Network Box has studied over 13 billion URLs visited by businesses in the first quarter of 2010. The results are not too surprising. Facebook leads the pack in terms of the number of visits. The study concludes that a good 6.8% of all website traffic from businesses was to Here are the top websites visited at work and the percentage of traffic share they constitute

1. Facebook : 6.8%
2. Google : 3.4%
3. Yimg (Yahoo image server) : 2.8%
4. Yahoo : 2.4%
5. DoubleClick : 1.7%

Sounds unconvincing? Well, the study has apparently studied the hits on the various servers and considering that several Yahoo images are loaded from Yahoo’s image server at and also because several websites host Google ads that load from, these websites appear to be the most popular.

While a majority of users may be unaware of them having visited these websites, in terms of hits, this is how it is.