IT decision-makers in large organisations are predicted to spend US$ 53 million on unified communications and collaboration (UCC) over the next two years, as uptake in UCC as a strategic business opportunity increases. However, this spend could be at risk without user adoption. That’s according to new research by global ICT solutions and services provider Dimension Data.
Earlier this year, Dimension Data commissioned research firm Ovum to conduct a global UCC survey across the USA, Australia, Asia, Europe, and South Africa. Over 1 320 enterprise ICT decision-makers and 1 390 employees in a broad spectrum of industry verticals in 18 countries were interviewed.
According to the Dimension Data 2013 Global UCC Study over 78% of the IT decision-makers polled said they have a current strategic plan and budget to implement “select components” of UCC. Additionally, 43% have a budget for ‘most components’ of UCC, while 42% of decision-makers indicated they have a budget to proceed with investment in “all or most aspects” of UCC.
“This is a surprising shift,” says Craig Levieux, Dimension Data’s general manager for Converged Communications, “especially when economic conditions and operational constraints normally put the brake on enterprise communications investment. Typically, UCC has not been the subject of strategic ICT planning. In fact, until recently, UCC was largely synonymous with the corporate PBX, and the idea of formulating and rolling out a UCC strategy – even among large organisations – was alien.”
“Of those IT decision-makers who had made major UCC investments in the past two years, a high 61% cited measurable cost savings, employee uptake and employee productivity. This sends a strong message to organisations that don’t recognise unified communications as a strategic productivity and cost-saving weapon.”
Meanwhile, the UCC aspirations of organisations don’t match those of their employees. “Our research tells us that organisations are failing to profile and assess their employee requirements,” explains Levieux. “This lack of employee awareness could pose a risk to the success of those UCC investments on today’s boardroom agendas – especially since decision-makers expressed that they are basing their UCC investments on improved business processes and productivity.
“When we analysed the strategic approach that enterprises are taking towards UCC, the BYOD trend, the focus on mobilising UC and social collaboration, and aspirational goals to increase business agility, we were surprised that only 38% of large enterprises reported that they profiled their users. Of those who don’t profile users, around 20% have simply not thought of doing it. More alarming is the fact that 21% believe their employees all have the same requirements, while 13% did not see the value in profiling.
“For organisations looking to formulate or refresh a UCC, employee feedback is critical. In a world where more employees bring their own devices to work, a gap in understanding between decision-makers and employees could come at a very real cost. User uptake is a critical success metric for UCC investments, especially as more UCC applications will be delivered to employees, who expect multiple device support and applications that match their requirements. If not, uptake will continue to lag behind aspirations, as has been the case with many standard UCC applications to date,” explains Levieux.
Other key findings of the Dimension Data global UCC survey include: the BYOD challenge should be approached as part of an overall enterprise mobility strategy; standard UC, mobile UC clients and social collaboration are key; cloud will come, but managed UCC is here; and business process, agility play as much of a role as cost.
Assuming everyone in your organisation has the same communication needs is road to disappointment. UC has been pinpointed by many as the major growth area for 2013 and it is critical for businesses to understand the requirements of their workers before making huge investments in new technology.