Collaboration, mobility and social networking are hot topics for enterprises, but the complexity of unified communications technology is contributing to low adoption rates, according to CompTIA's second annual Unified Communications and Collaboration Market Trends study.
The study of 500 business and IT executives focused on unified communications as a service. "You have companies that might be familiar with what many [communications] technologies are because they've been in news or use them in their personal lives, [and] they start to think this could be great if those types of things would be available for their business--and they would be," says Seth Robinson, director of technology analysis at CompTIA, a nonprofit trade association for IT professionals and companies. "But the reality is, getting everything established and talking together and getting users to actually use the tools in the way they're meant to be used is a tricky proposition."
Managed services and cloud-based delivery can help improve unified communications by removing some of that complexity, as well as bring perspective to what a business needs, Robinson says. Communications providers also know the questions to ask that will match tools with the business strategy, such as where a business needs to be and how to get there.
"They can suggest the right suite of tools that they're familiar with and manage and maintain them, and have a good understanding of how the tools can be incorporated in the business. Certainly, as companies have aging infrastructures and look to replace [equipment] the cloud has lot of benefit," he says, adding that goes for any other IT-related service.
Companies need to look at the unified communications benefits the cloud can provide and figure out whether going that route will cost them less, create more agility and give them more features. The challenge providers have is "to build a holistic platform that considers the various tools available and the best way to utilize them," according to the study. "By providing an integrated experience tied to business processes and then adding on education, the time for communications tools to become accepted can be shortened."
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