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Huge Productivity Boost Reported With Collaboration

A new survey indicates companies that are linking their processes with third-party partners and suppliers are enjoying a variety of benefits.

For companies that remain skeptical of the bottom-line benefits of collaboration tools, a survey of 300 business leaders conducted by Deloitte Consulting should provide some compelling evidence. Of course, if the survey is accurate, there aren't too many skeptics left.

Deloitte finds that 75% of the execs it surveyed consider collaboration a top priority, and those who've linked partners and suppliers to their internal business processes report 70% greater profitability than companies that haven't integrated with partners yet. The adoption of collaborative business is especially prevalent in large businesses, where 33% are conducting pilot programs and another 45% are planning to do so.

Execs appear to be encouraged by the results of companies already participating in external collaboration: Of those that have created links with partners and suppliers, 17% say they've sped up processes, and 16% say they've improved customer satisfaction. In all, 80% of the survey respondents say they'll implement some degree of collaborative commerce by 2005.

But 45% say they're concerned about the complexity of implementing collaborative tools, 33% are unconvinced of the maturity of collaborative software, 33% cite internal hurdles that might keep them from making progress, and 31% say trading partners and other external forces are potential obstacles.

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