Today Spiceworks Ziff Davis, a division of Ziff Davis, a J2 Global company, published a new research study, Workplace Communications Trends in 2020, which tracks shifts in the use of business communications tools as remote work becomes the new normal. The study analyzes business adoption and usage trends before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, comparing data from similar surveys of more than 750 IT professionals fielded one year apart.
COVID-19 accelerated tech adoption and increased usage
The findings show that months into the pandemic, 81% of businesses were using business chat apps such as Slack and Microsoft Teams in 2020, a significant increase from 67% in 2019. Additionally, with more people working from home than ever before due to COVID-19, communications preferences shifted: 37% of IT decision-makers reported workers preferred to use business chat apps over email— up significantly from 31% in 2019.
“As the pandemic and work-from-home policies drove co-workers apart, digital communication tools were vital for bringing people together despite physical distance,” said Peter Tsai, Senior Technology Analyst at SWZD. “Over the past few years, business chat apps and web conferencing use were already on a steady growth path. The recent shift to a remote work normal has further accelerated the upward trajectory of these modern tools, often at the expense of legacy technologies.”
With fewer in-person meetings taking place, adoption of web conferencing apps was up significantly year-over-year, growing from 69% of businesses in 2019 to 79% in 2020. Business adopters also reported that the frequency of using web conferencing tools went up by more than 10 percentage points for both internal and external communications.
These tools are clearly useful, with 75% of IT decision-makers believing communications effectively meet business demands in 2020. However, there is certainly room for improvement. Nearly a third of IT support professionals reported users regularly experience technical difficulties with web conferencing.
Remote security concerns drive communications in the future
According to the recent 2021 State of IT report, more than half of companies are planning to have flexible work policies in place even after the COVID-19 crisis is over. As this “work from anywhere” model proliferates, geographically dispersed teams will become more common.
As company-owned devices and data move outside of firewalls, security will be a top concern. The workplace communications study found an additional 11% of businesses plan to adopt secure communications solutions platforms by 2022, making this the biggest growth area among communications technologies.
Additionally, while businesses use an average of five communications solutions today, some businesses will look to reduce complexity by consolidating tools. The research indicated an additional 10% of organizations plan to adopt unified communications solutions within two years. This suggests a shift from “silos to platforms,” which might help organizations keep data and communications workflows within a single unified stack.
The surveys were conducted by Spiceworks Ziff Davis in July 2019 and July 2020 and included 750+ business technology buyers each wave from organizations across North America and Europe. Respondents represent a variety of company sizes, including small- to medium-sized businesses and enterprises, in addition to a variety of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, non-profit, education, government, and finance.
For more information and a complete list of survey results, visit: https://swzd.com/resources/workplace-communications-trends-in-2020.
About Spiceworks Ziff Davis
Spiceworks Ziff Davis is the trusted global marketplace for connecting technology buyers and sellers across all marketing channels. By leveraging the breadth and depth of relationships with millions of professionals involved in B2B tech purchase decisions, we are uniquely positioned to provide unparalleled insights and intelligence to help technology buyers and sellers grow their businesses. http://www.swzd.com.
About J2 Global
J2 Global, Inc. (NASDAQ: JCOM) is a leading Internet information and services company consisting of a portfolio of brands including IGN, Mashable, Humble Bundle, Speedtest, PCMag, RetailMeNot, Offers.com, Spiceworks Ziff Davis, Everyday Health, BabyCenter and What To Expect in its Digital Media segment and eFax, eVoice, iContact, Campaigner, Vipre, IPVanish and KeepItSafe in its Cloud Services segment. J2 Global reaches over 230 million people per month across its brands. As of December 31, 2019, J2 Global had achieved 24 consecutive fiscal years of revenue growth. For more information, visit: http://www.j2.com.