Trends in Unified Communications Adoption, Utilization

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Jun 24, 2014 6:32:00 AM

Trends in Unified Communications Adoption, Utilization

Businesses have become especially aggressive in their pursuits of new technologies and communication solutions in the past few years, driven by the need to become more efficient, lower overhead and drive collaboration for a variety of purposes. A fact that has remained true for decades is that the organizations that create the most effective frameworks to maximize collaboration among employees will tend to be the best-positioned to innovate and improve operational performances. 

Likewise, the companies with tools in place that most closely align with their corporate needs and help to streamline the customer experience when a given client is communicating with the business will achieve far greater retention and engagement. For these reasons and many more, the enterprise case for unified communications and cloud computing has become clearer and more commonly shared among a diversity of industries throughout the globe. 

Studies have shown that companies are beginning to reallocate their IT and communications expenditures heavily in the direction of UC and cloud services, driven by the successes of counterparts that have already taken this approach to provisioning. One of the main catalysts for these decisions was the Great Recession, which forced companies to rethink their spending practices and operational management procedures to become leaner, more productive and modernized. 

Despite the fact that the United States has now effectively climbed out of the financial abyss that lingered following the economic downturn, UC and cloud services remain in a highly desirable position in terms of market demand and revenue potential. With so many different types of companies adopting and using UC solutions, specifically, a few key trends have sprouted up that small business owners might want to keep an eye on moving forward. 

Spending with a purpose
StateTech Magazine recently reported that one study from the Enterprise Strategy Group found that 27 percent of IT decision-makers expect UC to represent a significant portion of their overall expenditures in the next year, while increased understanding among corporate leaders is driving the industry on an upward path. According to the news provider, public sector organizations have been especially active in this space, deploying UC for relatively simple purposes that still have a major and positive impact on overall performance. 

This has been a relatively consistent trend for the past five years, in that government agencies on state, local and federal levels have taken a more technology-centric approach to strategic matters. As aforementioned, the Great Recession had a major impact on the private sector in that businesses were forced to cut the fat and drive productivity simultaneously. The same type of urgency might have even been more intense for the public sector, especially considering the massive deficit that most states and the federal government have experienced since the mid-2000s. 

StateTech Magazine stated that video conferencing has been especially popular among public sector organizations, citing the example of a Minnesota County government that saved a tremendous amount of money by leveraging these tools to connect their employees in disparate offices more affordably. Reducing travel time is one of the more common drivers of video conferencing platform adoption in both the public and private sectors. 

The source stated that Voice over Internet Protocol has helped the Sacramento County government in California effectively cut its annual phone bills in half. This specific agency used a Cisco enterprise UC solution that included VoIP to get the job done, the news provider reported, which has saved Sacramento officials roughly $2 million annually. 

So, in summation, the need to reduce operating and capital expenditures while simultaneously increasing productivity and power are the main catalysts for UC adoption. 

Deciding upon the right model
One of the biggest decisions a company has to make when provisioning UC solutions is whether to keep all of the management and maintenance in-house, or to purchase hosted services that outsource the back-end oversight process. FedTech Magazine recently broke down the benefits of each path, affirming that the optimal choice will always depend on the needs, objectives and values of each individual business. 

According to the source, on-premises UC will be a feasible selection when the firm has a qualified staff with the time to implement and manage the strategy and equipment, that can afford higher upfront costs and does not have a breadth of operating facilities but rather one central location and maybe one or two smaller workplaces. When looking at the small business sector, these types of characteristics and attributes are likely few and far between. 

On the other hand, the news provider stated that hosted UC will be the right option when the company has tighter financial restraints, a smaller IT department and working facilities that are spread out over a range of locations that each have a similar number of employees. 

Although each business will have a unique set of capabilities, objectives and values, hosted UC is likely the right choice for a much higher number of organizations than on-premises options.

Topics: Business Extras