Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Unified Communications Has Entered the Mainstream in Large Enterprises

Siemens Enterprise Communications announced the findings of its Unified Communications in the Enterprise study, showing strong interest in Unified Communications (UC) in large enterprises. The study found that more than half (53 percent) of large U.S. enterprises surveyed are actively pursuing UC installations. In fact, 16 percent have already installed UC systems and 37 percent plan to do so within the next 24 months. The most common benefits companies expect to achieve are increased productivity and business responsiveness.

Additionally, all groups interviewed perceive UC as highly beneficial in speeding business processes and improving customer satisfaction, also critical factors for staying competitive in a down economy. However, the study uncovered a disconnect between IT staff and end users. Nearly one of three end users (29 percent) said they had "much" or "extreme" interest in UC. Yet when IT was asked to estimate the end user interest, only 21 percent of IT thought that level of interest existed. In fact, among companies who were not considering UC, only two percent of IT staff estimated that end user interest in UC was "much" or "extreme". Conversely, two-thirds of large enterprise end users rank their own company's UC efforts as average at best, with 28 percent saying there was just a "glimmer of hope" or that they were stuck in the "dark ages," further emphasizing the disconnect.

The chief challenges companies believe they face when implementing UC are the need to "rip and replace" and the "all or nothing" nature of UC, which leads to a perception that UC can potentially be difficult and expensive to adopt.

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