UK Businesses Stall on Unified Communications

Almost half of all deployments of unified communications solutions are being delayed or plans postponed indefinitely.

One in three IT managers are being frustrated by boards not approving spend, and a quarter lack the internal resources and skills required for implementation and ongoing management. This is being compounded by migration and integration challenges created by the complexity of existing IT infrastructure and networks.

These are the headline findings of research conducted by a&o, a European provider of IT services & support. More than 100 IT directors and managers from UK enterprises were questioned about their business communications and collaboration strategies.

“Business communications strategies are close to reaching stalling point for many UK companies,” said Andrew Lough, Business Manager for Communications & Collaboration at a&o UK.

“The inertia created at board-level is being compounded by poor advice from technology-focused voice suppliers who are not used to addressing value through IT service delivery and integration of business solutions at the desktop. The business case for unified communications is less about technology, and more about enhanced communication and collaboration processes that improve productivity, efficiency and competitive edge.”

“When considering a partner or supplier to overcome skills and resource issues, business must choose a partner that is experienced in working in complex IT environments and can provide deployment, business application integration and support services at the desktop – rather than just at the voice switch,” added Lough.

The survey results revealed:

45.2% of UK businesses who actively want to roll out unified communications are yet to do so; Of these, only 14% say that implementation is likely to be carried out in the next 12-24 months

IT directors and managers rated the biggest barriers to implementing unified communications as:

Costs / board-approval for IT spend – 30.8% (of all respondents)

Lack of resources and skills – 25.2%

Complexity of existing IT infrastructure and networks (including challenges associated with integration of legacy systems and migration) – 16.8%

6.5% said a key challenge was building a compelling benefits case, and only 5.6% cited concerns over quality and reliability