May 22, 2013 - Forbes Insights, the research practice of Forbes Media, released "Collaborating in the Cloud," a Cisco-sponsored study examining the ways business leaders increasingly look at cloud collaboration as a way to increase productivity, accelerate business results and enhance innovation and collaboration across borders and functions.

The research, which combines a global survey of more than 500 executives with 15 executive interviews, found that 64 percent of respondents say cloud-based collaboration tools help businesses execute faster than would be possible otherwise. The figure increases to 82 percent among "leaders" including CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, CFOs and other top executives.

Another key finding is that the cloud enhances collaboration across time zones and functional boundaries. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed — 87 percent of leaders — say that capabilities enabled by cloud-based solutions represent a true breakthrough in collaboration.

The cloud also enables more-efficient business processes, according to the survey. Fifty-eight percent of total respondents and 90 percent of leaders say cloud-based collaboration has the potential to improve business processes such as purchasing, manufacturing, marketing, sales and technical support.

A huge majority (93 percent) of the leaders say cloud-based collaboration stimulates innovation, and say non-IT executives are becoming more involved in the selection, implementation and management processes relating to cloud-based collaboration tools.

"The ability to collaborate in the cloud is becoming a key driver of competitive advantage," Bruce Rogers, chief insights officer of Forbes Media, said in a statement. "Leading companies are doing more to foster cloud-based collaboration — not only internally but also with an ever-wider swath of external groups including customers, suppliers, partners and even regulators." The benefits of cloud-based collaboration include greater efficiency, organizational dexterity and innovation, Rogers said.

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