In the final analysis, says Robinson, the decision to move to a managed service model "is really going to depend on how critical certain types of communication are to a business and if they need things to be very reliable." If they don't think they can get assurances from a cloud provider, they may opt to keep certain aspects of unified communications on-premises, while moving secondary services off-site.
That leads to a new trend toward a hybrid model of providers offering both on-premise and off-site services. Companies will likely choose to keep voice on-site, Robinson says, but may opt to move instant messaging to the cloud, since it may be something they're experimenting with and not heavily using. However, Robinson adds, there are companies that offer VoIP as a service, "so it comes down to cost equation, backup and other issues."
The study found that budgets for communications/collaboration are increasing because companies want workers to be more productive, which leads to some improvement in business metrics, and that there is an issue with end-user adoption. Among the reasons, says Robinson, are the learning curve and the fact that end users are going to use tools with which they're most familiar.
The most surprising finding from the study, he says, was the priorities people put on their communications goals. Usually, people cite improving cost savings and productivity as their typical goals, he says, but "what was surprising was that business metrics and business objectives were lower on the list of priorities. So the way we look at that is, companies are probably saying, 'We want these communications to help with productivity,' but really, they may want to shorten sales cycles or [achieve] better customer satisfaction."
Says Robinson, "To the extent that companies can make a more direct link with the communications strategy and end goal of the business metric or objective will help them see how to implement that business strategy."