by Best in UC on 31/05/12 at 2:58 pm
Unified communications (UC) solutions providers may drive higher adoption of UC technologies with managed services and cloud-based delivery models, according to new research released by CompTIA, a nonprofit association for the information technology (IT) industry.
Interest in UC remains high. Four out of five companies surveyed for CompTIA’s Second Annual Unified Communications Market Trends study perceive that UC provides additional value. Large and medium sized companies and those with a higher proportion of telecommuting workers are most bullish.
Also, budgets for communications and collaboration solutions are increasing or keeping pace with other technology priorities at 85 percent of companies surveyed.
“Organizations have a clear vision of what they expect to gain from unified communications – greater employee productivity, reduced costs and a means to improve customer engagement,” said Seth Robinson, director of technology analysis for CompTIA. “But to get there, significant barriers must be overcome.”
Among the challenges identified in the CompTIA survey are:
- integrating new unified communications tools with existing technologies
- calculating return on investment
- incorporating mobility, social networking, collaboration and video conferencing
Additionally, some aspects of UC systems may not be considered reliable enough for every potential customer, or specific capabilities sought by a customer may not be readily available.
The human element may also stymie broader adoption, according to the CompTIA survey. Even in organizations that offer a wide range of communications tools, employees tend to use only those options with which they are most familiar: email and voice, primarily; and instant messaging, web conferencing and social tools to a lesser extent.
Given the challenges organizations face in implementing UC solutions, cloud systems or managed services can provide significant advantages. In fact, approximately seven out of 10 companies in the CompTIA survey say they will consider a cloud system or managed services model for their UC needs.
“What we are most likely to see is a hybrid approach in many organizations, using the cloud for collaboration and web conferencing, and on-premise infrastructure for data, voice and video,” Robinson said.
Technology solution providers are in a prime position to help companies address their UC needs, beginning by leading clients through a needs assessment to determine which style and tool options might work best. Robinson cites video conferencing as a prime example.
In the CompTIA survey 71 percent of companies have some form of video conferencing in place, with another 16 percent planning to add it over the next year. But just 27 percent of employees are extremely comfortable with the format, and video accounts for less than 10 percent of communications in companies where it is installed.
“By assessing the true requirements for video, then building the proper solution and delivering follow-on education, solution providers can ensure that any investment leads to positive results,” Robinson said.