News Feature | March 10, 2016

Managers Remain Ambivalent About Unified Communications

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Unified Communications

Despite UC’s benefits, many IT leaders remain skeptical about deployment.

Despite the fact unified communication (UC) has made major inroads and proven itself to be a strategic and cost-effective solution that can deliver real value, a recent report finds many managers and IT leaders remain skeptical about its deployment. Why The Paradigm Shift of Unified Communications is Worth the Effort, conducted by Osterman Research for managed solutions provider ConnectSolutions, finds that, “Although executives recognize UC’s benefits, many remain apprehensive, particularly about transitioning from legacy tools and technologies to a unified communications framework before they’ve achieved full ROI on the legacy systems.”

But despite these apprehensions, Michael Osterman of Osterman Research says, “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.”

According to the survey, one-quarter of IT decision makers and 39 percent of all business decision makers reported being either somewhat or very fearful regarding a UC migration. And almost half (48 percent) admitted they have no understanding of what the full impact of UC would be on their organization.

This is despite the finding that 71 percent of those surveyed said there are significant and even enormous benefits from deploying UC.

Most resistance came from the fact users are mired in legacy investments in telephony or related systems, with one out of six stating this was a key reason for not moving to UC solutions now. And almost one-third said they were waiting to reach full ROI from their legacy technology before transitioning to UC. Two-thirds view improvements in employee productivity as a motivator for migration to UC.

Osterman Research forecasts the number of users served by UC will increase from 45 percent currently to 68 percent by 2017, with the number of remote workers served by UC climbing from 14 percent to 22 percent by 2017.

The study also found Skype for Business is gaining acceptance, with over a quarter of those surveyed already utilizing it as their primary voice solution and 61 percent stating they have plans to fully migrate to Skype for Business — 71 percent of them in the next year.

“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 Osterman.