Were you surprised when Google paid $1.65 billion for YouTube? To put it in perspective, the Space Shuttle Endeavour cost NASA $1.7 billion to build. Still, it's a smart buy. Google understands that success in the brave new world of user/community-driven content involves increased maturity in corporate blogs, wikis, podcasts and Webcasts, and more experimentation with video as a sales and marketing tool.
Meanwhile, 2007 will bring advances in enterprise e-mail, and VoIP adoption is finally picking up speed. Next stop: UC (Unified Communications) initiatives that link PBXs, IM and e-mail servers, mobile devices, contact-center applications, fax servers and more. Enterprises will use caution in adopting UC architectures, and rightly so. These systems are complex to set up; require skills that most IT staffs lack; and come with risks, mainly related to integration and ensuring reliability. We discuss many of these in "Handle With Care".
But the payoff can be great. It's difficult to calculate ROI based on efficiency improvements, but in a recent Forrester survey, 59 percent of knowledge workers estimated they would save two to five minutes per day, per contact, if they could automatically send messages based on the receiver's preferred communication channel, whether e-mail, IM, PDA, telephone, cell phone or pager. And 60 percent said they would save one hour or more per day if they could share documents and collaborate with their work teams in real time. At $38 per hour, that's $190 per work week, per employee.