Unified Communications Featured Article

Report Examines Future Plans for Corporate UC Deployment

November 24, 2008

The concept of unified communications (UC) is gaining attention in trade journals, media outlets and even among corporate enterprises. And, while the promise of the benefits that such technology implementations can provide is attractive for many companies, there is still much hesitation as companies are wary of uprooting their existing infrastructure.

A recent survey, with findings compiled in The Messaging Technology Report and published by the Radicati Group, examined corporate UC deployment attitudes and procurement plans.

The report defines unified communications as enabling “organizations to communicate quickly and more efficiently by bringing together the multitude of communication channels in use today, such as e-mail, voice, instant messaging, calendar/scheduling, wireless and video, file sharing and more.”

The benefits that can be derived from UC include more effective communications; easier management of multiple devices; improved competitiveness, integration with business processes; and support of the adoption of related technologies, such as Presence, VoIP, WiFi, Instant Messaging and more. 

In the recent survey conducted by the Radicati Group, a significant percentage of survey respondents, or 19 percent, indicated that they were already deploying a UC solution. An additional 52 percent of respondents reported that they plan to deploy a UC solution in the near future.
Cisco and Microsoft were the two most popular vendors with the organizations surveyed, both in terms of current deployment and in relation to future procurement plans.

When considering which UC solution makes the most sense for a company, many factors are considered, although price was proven to be the most important criteria as 37 percent of respondents listed it as the key criteria.

Another 16 percent chose reliability as their key criteria; 11 percent selected integration with their current PBX environment; 10 indicated the need for Presence functionality; 8 percent chose Instant Messaging capabilities; 6 percent selected VoIP functionality; and 5 percent chose video integration.

The selection process was also studied and 52 percent of organizations that indicated a consideration for UC in the future were asked how they were planning to select a solution.

The majority answer was that 45 percent were currently “reading up about it.” Another 43 percent indicated they are relying on their current vendor. A consultant or systems integrator is being used by 23 percent and 11 percent had “other” responses.

Vendor selection was examined in this study with questions put out to organizations planning to deploy a UC solution in the next 12-18 months. Of those in the planning stage, 42 percent had not yet selected a vendor; 18 percent indicated plans to go with Cisco; 17 percent plan to go with Microsoft; 6 percent had selected Avaya or Nortel; and 2 percent indicated Active Voice. “Other” was listed by the remaining 9 percent.

The results of this research provide keen insight into the current and future market status of unified communications solutions. Both vendors and users can relate to this information, recognizing the opportunities and the elements that must be considered before a decision can be made on effective unified communications.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for unified communications and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tim Gray

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