Businesses Count The Benefits Of Unifying Their Communications

UK organisations unifying their communications are experiencing a wealth of benefits, including 10 per cent cost savings, productivity improvements of 10 per cent, and a 21 per cent improvement in customer satisfaction – all crucial to survival in the current economic climate. That’s according to a new report by specialist IT solutions and services provider, Dimension Data, which shows that unified communications has come of age in these tougher times. Sixty-two per cent of IT managers of enterprise-sized businesses surveyed said it was a key element in supporting the growth of their organisations.

Unified communications is a catch-all term for the integration of most communication channels (including voice, e-mail, fax, instant messaging, video-conferencing and web collaboration) through a single user-interface so that people can communicate anytime, anywhere on any device. For example, board members in different countries are able to attend meetings from any location using personal video-conferencing, while reviewing and editing reports and spreadsheets at the same time, in real-time.

Mike Robinson, Line of Business Director – Converged Communications at Dimension Data, said: “Our study reveals that the promise of unified communications, which is still a relatively new technology, has become a reality in the enterprise. Even the bottom line is feeling a positive impact: one business reported a 15 per cent increase in revenues as a result of unifying their communications. It’s no wonder that the majority of IT managers we talked to see it as crucial to growth.”

The quantified business benefits identified or estimated by some of the 47 per cent of IT managers that have a unified communications strategy in place were, on average:

– General cost savings of 10%

– Customer satisfaction improved by 20.7%

– Productivity improved by 10.4%

– Travel costs reduced by 11.7%

– Time wastage reduced by 13.1%

– Carbon footprint reduced by 14.5%

Overall, the top business benefits identified by those with a unified communications strategy were more effective internal collaboration (66 per cent), greater business efficiency, reduced travel costs and a more flexible workforce (57 per cent each). Fifty-one per cent said that their organisations were more agile and the same proportion noticed improved productivity as a result of unifying their communications. Even the 53 per cent of IT managers currently without a formal unified communications strategy expected a range of valuable business benefits from the technology: 75 per cent anticipated a more flexible workforce, 66 per cent greater business efficiency and 64 per cent improved productivity.

Almost half (47 per cent) of all respondents said unified communications is the de facto standard for the future of business communications.

Rob Stanley, Dimension Data’s Line of Business Director – Microsoft Solutions, said: “Large organisations investing in unified communications are enjoying concrete benefits at a time when they are needed more than ever. They set an example for those that haven’t. It’s clear from our study that the question Board members should ask themselves isn’t ‘can we afford this right now?’, but ‘can we afford not to?’.”