Internet Making Life Easier for Business People

An increased reliance on the Internet is improving workplace efficiency among American business professionals, according to a survey of technology-savvy business people by MCI WorldCom.

The study, “The Internet’s Impact on Business Productivity and Individual Work Habits,” surveyed nearly 300 Internet-connected business professionals on their Web usage. The results show that American businesses are rapidly embracing the Internet as a tool to facilitate communication, collaborate with others, and improve productivity. More than half of the respondents to the survey said the Internet is central to their companies’ daily business practices; only 13 percent say their company limits or discourages Internet use.

A majority of the survey respondents use the Internet for a variety of business tasks. For example, business travelers use the Web frequently to access online maps (94 percent), obtain flight information (89 percent), conduct research on other companies (82 percent), make hotel reservations (67 percent), and purchase airline tickets (58 percent).

Many of those surveyed said they derive business benefits when using the Internet: 68 percent said it reduces costs; 63 percent said it improves customer service; and 6 percent said it reduces travel. More than half of the respondents said using the Internet has personal benefits, noting that it helps improve job satisfaction and quality of work, and reduces stress.

“Many businesses that were early adopters of the Internet used it to reach constituents, conduct research and communicate with others. However, its bottom-line benefits were difficult to gauge, taken more on faith than fact,” said Tim Reedy, VP of marketing for MCI WorldCom Conferencing. “Today, the Internet is creating new opportunities for businesses of all sizes and dramatically impacting the work habits of their employees.”

Why Business Travelers Use the Web
Access online maps 94%
Obtain flight information 89%
Conduct research on
other companies
Make hotel reservations 67%
Purchase airline tickets 58%
Source: MCI WorldCom

When on business travel, four out of five respondents said they used the Web to access a corporate network or intranet, and more than half used it to make or revise travel plans. The Internet also helps traveling business people keep up with personal responsibilities: two-thirds purchased products online during business travel; 43 percent banked online; and 26 percent managed their investments online.

An increasing number of business professionals are also using the Internet to participate in meetings and collaborate with others. More than one-third of the respondents have participated in Internet-based conferences.

Other uses of the Internet for meeting-related tasks include:

  • 75 percent have emailed a presentation to meeting participants
  • 46 percent have met via online chat
  • 40 percent have participated in a distance learning session
  • 29 percent have attended a virtual seminar

The survey was conducted by Socratic Technologies over a 10-day period in June of 1999.

Related reading