Unified Communications Featured Article

UC Adoption is Proven Strategy, But Slow to Grow Thanks to Legacy Investments

March 21, 2016

While many companies have achieved great success, costs savings and scalability with unified communications solutions, adoption of UC is not universal. In recent years, unified communications have has proven itself to be a strategic and cost-effective solution for companies of all sizes, many managers are still on the fence when it comes to purchasing and implementing UC for their companies, according to a report published late last year by Osterman Research.

The study found that 48 percent of those surveyed admitted that they don’t understand the full impact UC would have on their organizations. In some cases, it’s about legacy technology already in place: one-third of decision makers say need to get the full ROI out of existing legacy technology before they move to unified communications. At the same time – and this feels very contrary – 71 percent of respondents believe there are "significant" and even "enormous" benefits to be realized from the deployment of UC. In other words, “We know it would benefit our organization, but we’re still unwilling to abandon our legacy systems.”

Ultimately, this mindset will need to change as more companies build out their mobility strategies. Baseline estimates that today, only 14 percent of remote workers are served by UC. While this figure is expected to climb to 22 percent by next year, the numbers are still distressingly low.

"Despite some valid reluctance among organizations to immediately deploy UC, the forecast is for rapid growth especially as more businesses begin achieving the desired ROI from legacy systems and better understand how to prepare for a successful migration," said Osterman Research President Michael Osterman in a statement.

It’s possible that the hesitance with UC is primarily rooted in large enterprises that have spent a great deal of money on their existing communications platforms. A similar study conducted last year by IDG Enterprise entitled "2015 Unified Communications and Collaboration" found that 66 percent of small and medium-sized businesses plan to implement or upgrade UC solutions within the next year, largely because their communications budgets are also expected to grow. Smaller businesses have a great deal to gain from the migration: reduced costs, increased flexibility and feature sets and a great tie-in to their mobility strategies.

The increase in the number of companies moving to UC may also be hastened by the more widespread adoption of Skype for Business. The DG Enterprise solution found that 55 percent of IT decision makers now recognize Skype for Business as a legitimate productivity enhancer. With over a quarter of those surveyed already using Skype for Business as their primary voice solution, 61 percent said they intend to fully migrate to Skype for Business—71 percent of them said they planned to do it within the next 12 months.

“Skype for Business in particular is in a strong position to benefit from the adoption of UC thanks in part to its widespread brand recognition among consumers,” said Michael Osterman. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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