Social Media and Virtual Meetings in Product Development: Using Collaboration Technologies to Bring Products to Market Quicker

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - February 11, 2010) - In a newly released report, Enabling Community Collaboration in Product Development: Accelerating Time-to-Market, Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), found that top manufacturers were able to dramatically reduce their product development lead times, while increasing product quality, by leveraging community collaboration tools. These tools range from Web 2.0 plug-ins (e.g., wikis, blogs, discussion forums) for product development applications to virtual meeting solutions (e.g., teleconferencing solutions, webcasts). Incorporating the voice of the consumer, while enabling real-time collaboration among employees, has been a core priority among product companies. As such, there is a continued need to leverage new social technologies that are available to support business initiatives.

The use of real-time design collaboration is becoming more pervasive in a globalizing economy. Though the technology may be there, the benefits of concurrent design can only be realized if properly adopted. One major factor of adoption is user interface and ease of collaboration. It is evident that social networking, discussion forums, and virtual meeting solutions have been highly effective for sharing ideas within a community -- but what about the case of product design and development? Over 100 manufacturers from various industries were surveyed between November and December 2009. The responses reveal that top companies are able to leverage community collaboration technologies to improve communication, and to increase visibility to their product information among all stakeholders. The result is an ability to make expedited and informed decisions that lead to faster product to market, and to lower cost of errors.

"A big opportunity loss for any manufacturer is to have a talented staff that is unwilling or unable to share ideas -- critical information that contributes to the organization's success. Having a method of sharing ideas that's obvious and easy to adapt could turn such opportunity losses to profit gains," explains William Jan, Senior Research Analyst for the Product Innovation and Engineering practice at Aberdeen Group. "Being resourceful in using the best collaboration tool for their business needs is giving the top companies the versatility to communicate effectively across their organization, and amongst their suppliers, partners, and customers. The result is most notably an impressive reduction in time for delivering their products to the market."

This report is designed to provide guidance on how to select and execute initiatives on community collaboration in product development.

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About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen provides fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having queried more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen or call (617) 854-5200, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748.

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