After years of uncertainty as to when Unified Communications (UC) could be integrated into a the workplace as a coherent service, recent figures from the Cloud Industry Forum suggest that mobile working has finally entered the mainstream as a value-driven package.
The Cloud Industry Forum has found that UC applications are expected to emerge as 2016’s fastest growing cloud-hosted service, with 39 per cent already using cloud-hosted UC applications and 28 per cent have plans to move from an on-premise to a cloud-based Unified Communications solution.
According to Terry Storrar, IT Services Director, cloud has been the core to enabling business’ adoption of mobile services and applications. However, now it has the approval of most IT decision makers, Storrar stressed the importance of interpreting the technology’s performance in terms of its immediate business value:
“Partly down to its origins as a pie in the sky buzzword, Unified Communications once meant a hundred different things to as many people. However, IT leaders have been able to see the benefit of the service to the organisation and so have watched the technology carefully, weighing up the value offered by improvements in broadband speeds and cheaper bandwidths. Now with cloud adoption common among businesses, even the smallest organisation can derive value from mobile working technologies, where they were once limited to larger organisations with access to the infrastructure and range of applications needed to support the service.”
Storrar advised: “A coherent UC strategy must map the long term value of the cost and accessibility of bandwidth while carefully considering strain on the organisation’s network. IT leaders must ensure that their strategies offer the path of least resistance for employees wanting to access data on the go, while ensuring the uniform use of networks and applications. Cloud enables businesses to monitor their usage and quickly make changes to services, so has a huge benefit over attempting to run UC on cumbersome legacy infrastructure.”
Storrar nonetheless recognises that a reluctance to accept the flaws of an organisation’s infrastructure remains a main cause for incomplete, unconvincing attempts to introduce UC. He instead suggested that the tools for mobile working are best launched as part of an overall business communications stack:
“UC is most effectively introduced as part of a subscription-based cloud migration package. At Annodata, we’re seeing that agile ways of working are best achieved through agile delivery models and cloud’s modular, revenue-friendly features perfectly fit the bill. Changes to the service can then be introduced in tandem, avoiding scenarios of busy network traffic while ensuring the stability of infrastructure.”