Author: David Gehringer
Date: July 2, 2019
 

For many business professionals, meeting collaboration tools have become critical to accomplishing their core goals and tasks every week. But are they effective enough?

Cognitive Collaboration Tools

Cisco recently partnered with Dimensional Research and surveyed 1501 business professionalsglobally from companies of all sizes on their use of and experiences with meeting collaboration solutions.

Given the critical connectivity online meetings provide, it’s concerning that 85% of respondents experience online meeting problems and 42% reached a level of frustration in just the last week. These are not rare occurrences as the research finds that nearly a quarter spend 50% of their time each day in meetings, while over 60% of all participants spend 2 or more hours in online meetings every day. The impact of an inadequate meeting solution is that in addition to frustrating users, it can waste significant amounts of time and lead to less productive meetings, a loss for both the individuals and the business.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. 89% of respondents said they want a cognitive collaboration solution to solve these issue with 50% willing to argue with their boss to get it.

 

Cognitive collaboration provides context and intelligence that’s woven throughout all collaboration experiences and involves AI-driven capabilities like virtual assistants and meeting attendee intelligence.

 

Virtual Assistants and Attendee Intelligence

Today most benefit from using Siri, Alexa, or Google’s virtual assistant to accomplish tasks such as calling or texting a friend, setting a reminder, or adding an item to a ‘to do’ list. Most have these virtual assistants on their phone, computer and in their home and know the value they bring. Not surprisingly, 87% of business professionals see direct value from including a meeting virtual assistance into their meeting collaboration tools. Even more professionals (89%), want their meeting tool to be smart, proactively providing information to meeting participants based the context of the meeting subject and attendees.

Attendees? Sure. When meeting with someone new, many professionals attempt to research more about them to become more knowledgeable and to make the meeting more effective. In fact, 81% stated that meeting effectiveness increases with attendee background information. For most business professionals this is often a quick check on LinkedIn. However, 66% shared that information on LinkedIn is insufficient for their needs. This leads to more time searching for information or just being less prepared for the meeting. Proactively providing thorough attendee and company information within a cognitive collaboration solution would be a boon to meeting hosts and attendees.

Intelligent Action Taking

Most meetings involve reviewing or referencing documents, discussing past action items and establishing new ones. 93% of participants believe that having current action items easily visible for all meeting participants, as well as instant access to relevant documents, would increase meeting effectiveness. This is something a cognitive solution could provide, along with tracking and displaying current action items and their progress.

The solution could also manage access to all relevant documents from within the solution, making it simple to share or find key documents as necessary. The research finds that 90% of business professionals indicated action item completion would increase with automated tracking and status reminders, and an intelligent meeting assistant could be asked to create and assign new action items, find a document, or start a quick collaboration session.

The Move to Cognitive Collaboration

Many workers find comfort in the tools they use every day: they know how a tool works and how to get things done. The time to learn and adopt to a new tool can be disruptive but 88% of participants are willing to switch tools to adopt a new solution with capabilities that a cognitive collaboration meeting solution could provide. The reality is their current tool is not meeting their expectations and frustrating them. In fact, nearly 9 out of 10 respondents stated they want to use cognitive collaboration solutions as soon as possible. With the potential benefits of a cognitive solution with an intelligent meeting assistant, it’s time for a change.

Conclusion

The first part of these research findings clearly indicated the functionality of meeting tools has stagnated, with many solutions delivering the same functionality, yet still commonly frustrating users. The mobile phone market had a similar feel just before Apple’s release of the iPhone and it then ushered in the era of smartphones changing how we think about phones and mobile devices. The last few years have seen the rapid adoption of AI into many devices that reduce work and increase our personal and professional effectiveness.

When considering the impact of incorporating collaborative intelligence into meeting solutions, we are looking at a major shift for collaboration solutions and how we use them. Removing many of the obstacles that frustrate us – easier to join meetings, add participants on the fly, meeting attendee background information presented in the tool, along with relevant documents, with completed and pending action items – would allow attendees to focus on the meeting itself. Given the tremendous amount of time professionals spending in meetings each day, this new generation of collaborative meeting solution will provide a huge benefit for the individual and the the business.

Used with permission from Cisco.