Collaborating in the Cloud for effective business decision making is becoming common. Cloud service providers have developed a variety of collaboration tools that make the experience of collaboration truly pleasurable. Further, the process is cost effective, reliable and secure.

Cloud collaboration is an example of converged technology. The applications integrate voice, video, mobility and presence applications that are compatible with a variety of devices whether hand held or otherwise. The service may be offered as a part of a Cloud computing package or as a standalone package and priced nominally on a pay as you use model or per user / per month model. Since the service is delivered over the Cloud capital investments can be avoided and waiting time for using of the services can be reduced to the bare minimum.

The competitiveness of Cloud collaboration lies in the ability of the Cloud to service the collaboration needs of employees stationed at the remote locations of the organization. It enables the organization reach out to remote and mobile employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders for a variety of purposes. Collaborative decision making can distinguish them from the competition in the long run. The multi-layered interaction acts as a business enabler making the business dexterous, innovative, and agile while facilitating non-IT personnel in the process of decision making.  Customer satisfaction is guaranteed as the business can collaborate with the customer in creating new products that meet their needs. Suppliers are always in the loop and logistics management becomes simpler as purchasers and suppliers collaborate. The prediction is that Cloud collaboration will gain ground as businesses accelerate to meet the rapidly spiraling demands of their customers and other stakeholders.

Collaboration is driven, generally, by IT business users. A Forbes Insight survey report “Collaborating in the Cloud” [1], sponsored by Cisco, reveals that business leaders are looking at Cloud collaboration to speed up business growth and enhance innovation. The research surveyed more than 500 executives and conducted 15 executive interviews. The survey concludes that 82% of the business executives felt that Cloud collaboration solutions accelerate business and shorten time to market. 87% of them felt that collaboration tools helped users collaborate across time zones and functional boundaries. 90% of the leaders claimed that the Cloud made business processes more efficient. 93% felt that collaboration spurs innovation and 75% asserted that collaboration is not entirely an IT decision and must become a broader business decision.

[1] – Source: http://www.forbes.com/forbesinsights/Cisco_Cloud_Business/index.html