Relationships at risk as ICT becomes fragmented

The digital revolution and the development of social networking have fundamentally transformed corporate communication methods, which is proving a challenge for European companies.

Instant messaging, social networking, online collaboration tools and videoconferencing have gained ground in companies, to the detriment of more traditional communication methods. The findings of the study conducted by ICM on behalf of Canon are not surprising, but shed new light on the variations that exist in how companies use these tools. Conducted in eight European countries, the study analyzed how communication trends and habits have changed over the past five years and the potential impact on relationships in a business environment. Almost eight out of ten respondents are using more online platforms for their work, but significant disparities exist between countries. France and the Netherlands have been slower to adopt digital communication methods, with only 72% and 71% of their companies using online communication systems more frequently than five years ago. Swiss, British and Finnish companies lead the pack at 83%, 82% and 83% respectively. A study from Alcatel actually shows that employees often find new IT technologies hard to work with.

Office phone abandoned in favour of online tools

Traditional tools are in decline, with 22% of respondents making fewer desk-based phone calls, 15% having fewer face-to-face meetings and 32% attending fewer or no lunch meetings. E-mail exchanges with clients are occurring more frequently, but are substituting for physical interaction.

European companies recognize that these flows of digital information are difficult to control, with most saying that they are struggling to implement a global internal and external communication strategy to manage and optimize the use of data.

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