Businesses still not making the call on unified comms leads to sluggish deployment

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Unified communications (UC), while an interesting idea for businesses, has had relatively little deployment as executives continue to hesitate on moving over.

That’s the key finding from a survey by Osterman Research and ConnectSolutions, which finds more than a quarter (26%) of IT decision makers and two in five (39%) business decision makers are either ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ fearful about migrating to UC.

While the definition for unified comms varies, the usual suspects businesses imagine when considering such a move are messaging apps and video conferencing in a seamless user experience. This would be a similar idea at play with ConnectSolutions, which provides managed solutions for Skype for Business, formerly Lync.

Indeed, 55% of IT pros questioned believe Skype for Business is a ‘legitimate productivity enhancer’, while 71% say there are either “significant” or “enormous” benefits to be realised when deploying UC.

But the answer to why organisations aren’t jumping in with both feet can be seen in terms of what happens next: almost half of respondents (48%) admit they do not fully understand the full impact UC would have on their business. Investment in legacy telephony systems was also cited as an issue.

Skype for Business was announced in March 2015, with Microsoft trumpeting the bringing together of “the well-loved, familiar experience of Skype with the enterprise security, compliance and control that businesses expect from Microsoft.”

The considerably beefier capabilities of the business product – allowing up to 250 users on a conference call, deeper integration with Outlook and Office 365 – contrast sharply with the consumer-grade product, which suffered a debilitating outage back in September. Various executives told this reporter that Skype, as a consumer tool, was clearly not fit for business purpose.

Yet Michael Osterman, of Osterman Research, argues that while businesses may be justified in dragging their feet in taking the next step, it’s quickly becoming an invalid excuse. “Despite some valid reluctance among organisations to immediately deploy UC, the forecast is for rapid growth especially as more businesses begin achieving the desired ROI from legacy systems and better understand how to prepare for a successful migration,” he said.

“Skype for Business in particular is in a strong position to benefit from the adoption of UC thanks in part to its widespread brand recognition among consumers,” Osterman added.

 

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