The writing is on the wall for today’s enterprises still operating with aging PBX telephony: The time is now to move to unified communications (UC). As UC adoption becomes prevalent and its value becomes clearer, IT decision makers must consider whether their organizations will lose market position if they fail to leverage the technology. Yet many are facing several barriers that are keeping them from realizing the benefits of UC, such as improved employee productivity.
As far back as 2012, a report from CompTIA stated that “four out of five businesses perceive additional value in the proposition of UC.” This recognition has driven rapid growth in the UC market. In fact, a report from Transparency Market Research shows that, between 2012 and 2018, the net value of the global UC market is expected to rise at a robust CAGR of 15.7 percent to $61.9 billion.
Businesses have embraced UC to meet modern workplace demands for seamless integration of voice with other communication modes. Providing a consistent, high-level user experience across end points both fixed and mobile is also a crucial driver.
Roadblocks to UC adoption, conversely, include limited IT budgets for funding a premise-based UC solution, large investments in existing telephony infrastructure, and a lack of in-house expertise to adequately support UC implementations.
All of these hurdles can be mitigated by embracing UC as a service (UCaaS). When UC services are provided through the cloud, internal UC management complexities are removed. The largely software-based solutions challenge the status quo of legacy-based IT models.
With technological innovations emerging daily, UC services can help companies quickly respond to trends shaping the business landscape, as follows:
- Mobility: Smartphones are ubiquitous, yet still need UC to be fully connected to the office’s communication services and business contacts. Anytime and anywhere the Internet is available, mature UC platforms give mobile devices instant office connection.
- BYOD: UC providers are poised to help IT resolve the issues that arise when employees bring their own devices (BYOD) to work. The ability to integrate personal tools into the work environment is a trend that will continue to evolve.
- Social: Now that end users and brands are pervasive on social media sites, the trend is to integrate them. This is already happening in customer relationship management (CRM) with UC plug-ins for CRM apps becoming more widely available. The next step may be instant communication through UC apps to social platforms.
- WebRTC: UC providers are building Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC)—a technology enabling face-to-face communications and the use of data channeling via peer-to-peer connections—capabilities for group chats right into desktop clients, enabling instantaneous collaboration.
Moving to the cloud—which has been embraced in one way or another by 93 percent of businesses—does require a significant effort. The benefits of collaboration, mobility and social networking, however, are pushing IT decision makers to make the transformation. Managed service providers, like Star2Star, help remove complexity and can match tools with unique business strategies and needs.
As the business case for UC becomes more evident, companies need to look at the unified communications benefits the cloud can provide—like lower costs, greater agility and multiple features—and determine the best course for their organizations.