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Unified Communications Taking a Conferencing Bet, Survey Suggests

January 27, 2009

About six percent of organizations surveyed on behalf of CDW report their unified communications deployments are complete. The survey also suggests 20 percent of organizations are actively implementing UC and 33 percent actively planning for implementation.

Seventy percent of organizations currently in the UC planning and implementation phases expect to complete their adoption within two years, despite the weak economy.
But you might wonder what the findings actually mean. It appears most of the deployments are anchored by conferencing (71 percent).
Among the many possible approaches to UC, CDW's poll found rich media conferencing strategies are emerging as a dominant approach, with 39 percent of respondents reporting their organizations are choosing that approach over telephony-centric approaches (32 percent), e-mail-centric (18 percent) and instant messaging and presence approaches (11 percent).
Sixty percent of CDW survey respondents say they understand UC to be "the integration of products that facilitate the use of multiple enterprise communication methods, including equipment, software and services."
Sixty-one percent of respondents identified increased productivity and 56 percent identified operating cost reductions as the most important benefits. Other benefits cited included more reliable communication (48 percent), improved cross-functional communication (44 percent) and more effective use of remote or mobile workers (41 percent).
The most common concerns among organizations planning for UC implementation are network security (45 percent of responders), equipment and capital costs (44 percent) and operating costs (42 percent). However, CDW's tracking poll shows that, with careful planning, many of those apprehensions ease once implementation begins: Organizations that have completed or begun their implementations report substantially lower levels of concern with those same issues (27 percent, 28 percent and 31 percent, respectively).
State and local government organizations are most likely to select an e-mail-centric approach to UC (27 percent vs. 17 percent of respondents from other surveyed industries).
Healthcare organizations are most likely to select a telephony-centric approach to UC (38 percent vs. 29 percent of respondents from other surveyed industries).

Gary Kim is a contributing editor for unified communications. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michelle Robart

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