Interest remains high, but organizations face challenges in expanding UC use
Downers Grove, Ill. – Unified communications solutions providers utilizing managed services and cloud-based delivery models may play a key role in broadening adoption of unified communications technologies, according to new research released today by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the information technology (IT) industry.
Interest in unified communications remains high. Four out of five companies surveyed for CompTIA’s Second Annual Unified Communications Market Trends study perceive additional value in the proposition of unified communications. 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, technology analysis, CompTIA. “But to get there, significant barriers must be overcome.”
Among the challenges identified in the CompTIA survey: integrating new unified communications tools with existing technologies; calculating return on investment; and how to incorporate mobility, social networking, collaboration and video conferencing. Additionally, some aspects of unified communications systems may not be 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.
Managed Services, Cloud Options May Help
Given the challenges organizations face in implementing unified communications solutions, cloud systems or managed services can provide significant advantages. In fact, approximately seven out of ten companies in the CompTIA survey say they will consider a cloud system or managed services model for their unified communications 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 unified communications 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.
CompTIA’s Second Annual Unified Communications Market Trends study is the result of a March 2012 online survey of 500 IT and business executives directly involved in setting or executing telecommunications and unified communications policies and processes within their organizations. The complete report is available at no cost to CompTIA members who can access the report at www.CompTIA.org or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
CompTIA is the voice of the world’s information technology (IT) industry. Its members are the companies at the forefront of innovation; and the professionals responsible for maximizing the benefits organizations receive from their investments in technology. CompTIA is dedicated to advancing industry growth through its educational programs, market research, networking events, professional certifications, and public policy advocacy. For more information, visit www.comptia.org or follow CompTIA at www.facebook.com/CompTIA and twitter.com/comptia.