Businesses see the benefits of — and are hesitant to deploy — unified communications

unified communications

Call it the “UC conundrum”: While 7 in 10 IT and business decision makers can see “significant and even enormous benefits to be realized from the deployment of UC”, more than a quarter of IT decision makers and 4 in 10 business decision makers are “somewhat or very fearful” of actually deploying it at their organizations. These figures come from a recent survey conducted by Osterman Research on behalf of ConnectSolutions, a cloud-based unified communications provider.

This “I want it, but I don’t want it” reaction isn’t all that different from the thought process we go through when making pricey personal purchases. Think back to the last time you were thinking one over: perhaps a 4K or Ultra HD TV for your home theatre, or the latest high-end smartphone or tablet (I’m sure there are a number of readers having this internal debate right now about purchasing a Surface Book or iPad Pro). You’ve already figured out the benefits that will come out of that purchase, but are unsure of the added value you’ll get over your existing setup.

The problem is that a lot of UC functionality is already addressed, if in a piecemeal fashion, by systems that employees are using right now. Basic voice is covered by existing office voice systems, mobile devices, and voice chat applications, email is most often handled by a separate system, instant messaging can be done via SMS, Skype, or many other ways, teleconferencing is done with third-party applications such as GoToMeeting or Webex, many teleconference applications also do desktop sharing, and so on. A UC system brings all this functionality into a single, centralized, manageable unit that’s more likely to be safe, secure, and more efficient, but that doesn’t solve any immediate problems. As far as many people are concerned, UC is just incrementally better than systems they already have.

Selling UC to customers requires providing them with a solid value proposition. That means explaining the benefits of a single platform over a hodgepodge of solutions accreted over time without thinking of the larger IT picture, which run the gamut from uniformity and interoperability to manageability and security. You may find that this is easier to “sell” to organizations with distributed/remote workforces or distant customers and partners, where having several modes and channels of communication is highly valuable. Along with the value proposition, you should also take the various deployment models into account (on-premises, cloud, and hybrid), and look at the viability of the UC platform’s partner ecosystem.

Reading list

this article also appears in the GSG blog