The Unified Communications Message Isn't Getting Through

A Dimension Data survey on the acceptance of unified communications should be food for thought for vendor and service provider marketing departments. The findings suggest that a high percentage of companies are not integrating communications tools now -- or planning to in the future.

By Carl Weinschenk | Posted Apr 5, 2011
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Houston, we have a problem. And Boston as well. Not to mention San Francisco, New York and all the big and small places in between.
 
Dimension Data said last week that its survey of more than 800 IT folks pointed to significant problems for vendors and service providers. From the press release:
The survey revealed that while investment in unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) solutions is growing rapidly, organizations are not realizing the business productivity and cost-savings benefits due to lack of a carefully planned roadmap and comprehensive user adoption plan. For example, while 70% of companies surveyed have video capabilities, only 41% typically use the technology. 
There are other numbers as well. Seventy-two percent of respondents use IM, but 34 percent say it is not integrated with other systems. Almost 70 percent of companies have videoconferencing, but executives still travel a lot (70 percent once or twice per week and 25 percent three to five times). About half (51 percent) have “no roadmap or strategic plan for video adoption.”
 
While 89 percent of organizations in the study employ remote workers, about three-quarters of the video is room-based. That suggests that folks working from home or the road often are doing without the tools to which those in the office have access. More broadly, it suggests a lack of direction.
 
There is one inescapable takeaway: The message extolling the benefits of unified communications is not getting through to enough people. This survey, if it is replicated elsewhere and/or by vendor and service providers' internal research, suggests that the unified communications marketing community is failing in their main mandate, which is to convince decision makers that creating a mesh of telecommunications tools is far better than supporting tools in their own silos. 
 
While there is some ambiguity in the results – executives may travel often and use videoconferencing, for instance – the overall trend line is clear. And, unfortunately, it is not a good one.

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