Unified Messaging Becoming Enterprise Necessity

Unified messaging (UM), providing companies with “anywhere-anytime” access to all
types of IP-based messages, has become a “must-have” technology worth more than $708
million in 2008, researchers recently announced.

More important, UM is seen as a more important tool. What once was viewed as a
“nice-to-have” application” has graduated into the “must-have” class, according to
research firm Frost & Sullivan.

Part of that growing visibility comes from what researchers
describe as “the hype surrounding unified communications (UC).” UM is often bundled with
UC applications, the research firm said.

As an example, Microsoft Exchange 2007 includes UM capabilities at
a “very affordable price” Frost analyst Alaa Saayed told Enterprise VoIP Planet.

The face of UM has also changed. What once linked e-mail,
voicemail, and fax messages has expanded, now also providing access to your calendar,
on-the-road contact with the home office, video messaging, speech recognition, and call
routing, said Saayed.

Despite the bundling with other voice technologies, UM could see
shrinking revenues through 2009 during the bleak economic climate.

Companies “may also start selecting products and vendors based on
price rather than strategic value,” according to the research firm. For example,
enterprises may opt to invest in conferencing rather than UM.

To combat such thinking, Saayed recommended UM vendors clearly
illustrate the return on investment, adopt open standards, and investigate markets
outside North America.

The economic downturn may actually help UM vendors as companies
turn to outsourcing, according to the report.

As more companies convert their legacy communications systems, UM
may also be seen as the path to Unified Communications or “the answer” for remote and
virtual offices.

Other obstacles remain in the path of further Unified Messaging
growth. Improved security, privacy, and a higher level of confidentiality are among key
areas needing attention, Saayed told Enterprise VoIP Planet.

Article courtesy of Enterprise VoIP Planet

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