Unified Communications Featured Article

Four Big Trends Driving Unified Communications Growth

August 27, 2013

The unified communications (UC) market is ready to hit $61.9 billion by 2018, and is growing at a compound annual growth rate of over 15 percent. If you haven’t already yet, it would be wise to consider what exactly is driving this evolution and growth. At this week’s ITEXPO Las Vegas 2013 panel session, “Unified Communications: What You Need to Know and Why,” Blair Pleasant, president and principal analyst of COMMfusion LLC and co-founder of ucstrategies.com, dove headfirst into explaining what needs to be known about UC today and, perhaps more importantly, why.

“Unified communications is about connecting people to the right resources at the right time,” Pleasant explained, adding that there are generally two methods of UC implementation – that targeted toward user productivity (toward strengthening and simplifying the end-user experience) and that targeted toward business processes. For example, Pleasant explained that contact centers are increasingly relying on unified communications solutions to help improve first call resolution (FCR) initiatives. With UC, contact center agents can quickly and easily reach outside of their domain to a subject matter expert – quickly enough so that the customer remains on the line and gets his or her answer during the very first interaction.

Pleasant further noted four top trends that she believes are heavily driving this evolving market:

        1. Virtual workforce: People are increasingly working remotely – whether it’s from home or in an off-site office; however, they still need to collaborate and efficiently work with their colleagues.
        2. Consumerization of IT: The consumerization of IT has been paving the way for a slew of disruptive technologies, and UC is certainly involved in this movement. 
        3. New meeting experiences: Pleasant has seen a notable increase in ad hoc conferencing. Whereas conferencing once included three or four participants, today, it can include dozens – even hundreds – who are more likely to spontaneously hop on a call.
        4. The rise of desktop video: “I’ve probably done more video conferences in the past six months than the last six years,” Pleasant said. And she’s certainly not alone; research shows that one in five Americans use video calling services.

At the end of the day, one thing needs to be remembered about UC, according to Pleasant: It is not a single product; it’s a solution made up of many different elements and components. If you’re looking to dive into the UC pool, begin by asking yourself what your business goals are and what communication problems you’re currently trying to overcome. Start by looking at your technical challenges and what you’re trying to accomplish, Pleasant advises, and let the rest fall into place.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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