A new survey shows that larger companies, and companies with a higher percentage of workers who telecommute, are most likely to see greater value in unified communications technologies.
The survey, from CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the IT industry, showed that 80 percent of companies are interested in UC.
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Despite economic uncertainties, budgets for communications and collaboration solutions are increasing or keeping pace with other technology priorities, at 85 percent of companies surveyed, CompTIA said in its Second Annual Unified Communications Market Trends study.
Among benefits companies expect from unified communications: greater employee productivity, reduced costs and a means to improve customer engagement.
“But to get there, significant barriers must be overcome,” said Seth Robinson, director, technology analysis, CompTIA.
Integrating new unified communications tools with existing technologies is one of several hurdles that needs to be cleared, CompTIA found.
Questions that also need to be answered include calculating return on investment, the challenge of making UC mobile, including social networking, collaboration and video conferencing.
Even when those issues are addressed, some companies still have concerns about the reliability of communications systems.
Cloud and managed systems can help organizations sidestep some of the technical issues they’re most worried about, said CompTIA, and most, about 70 percent of the companies surveyed, said they’d consider a cloud system or managed services model for their unified communications needs.
“What we are most likely to see is a hybrid approach in many organizations, using the cloud for collaboration and web conferencing, and on-premise infrastructure for data, voice and video,” Robinson said.
Videoconferencing was one of the more widely adopted and anticipated UC technologies. Some 71 percent of companies have some form of video conferencing in place, with another 16 percent planning to add it over the next year.
But the technology faces some formidable obstacles to full adoption: the users. Just 27 percent of employees are extremely comfortable with the format, and video accounts for less than 10 percent of communications in companies where it is installed.
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