2014 State of Unified Communications – Part 1

In April of 2014, InformationWeek conducted a Unified Communications Survey with 488 Business Technology Decision Makers in North America. The results are in and the news is good for Unified Communications. The market has seen significant growth over the past year. However, this means that user expectations are at an all-time high and vendors have work to do this year.

OVERALL GROWTH FOR 2014

Of all survey participants, 70% have a Unified Communications solution or plan to deploy one in the future. These systems are being used by vast numbers of users – 34% of those participants provide Unified Communications to 76% or more of their users.

These numbers have increased since previous years. The percentage of participants that have a UC solution has increased from 38% to 44%. Additionally, those that do NOT plan to deploy a UC solution has decreased from 32% to 30%.

unified communications

Image source: http://www.networkcomputing.com/

Not only are more companies using Unified Communications, they are also using their systems more extensively. The number of participants that provide UC to 76% or more of their users increased from 21% to 34%.

As could be expected with a growth in Unified Communications, the traditional desk phone is losing popularly. This year 14% of participants have no desk phones whatsoever. Only 30% have desk phones for 76% or more of their users.

PREMISE VS CLOUD

While there is no doubt that Cloud has made its presence known in the Unified Communications market, premise is still the more common deployment.

Companies with premise or premise-based deployments make up 64% of all participants. Complete Cloud set-ups account for only 3% of participants, though 17% have hybrid set-ups with some sort of Cloud component.

unified communicationsImage source: http://www.networkcomputing.com/

According to the participants, this trend will not change in the near future. Of all participants, 52% envision themselves with all or primarily premise deployments two years from now.

However, this means that a large amount of the participants are still open to the idea of Cloud. While premise set-ups may be less expensive in the long run, Cloud Providers could, and should, promote the benefits of Cloud. Features like ease-of-use, mobility and BYOD, and a low capital investment may make the long-term investment worth the price.

COLLABORATION

A new buzzword has emerged in the world of Unified Communications: Collaboration. Companies that use Unified Communications have expressed great satisfaction with the increased ability to collaborate within companies and teams, whether in the same office or on opposite sides of the world.

The market study provided 12 ways that Unified Communications helps business and asked participants to name the top three for their company. The most popular response was “improve employee collaboration” with 62% of the vote.

unified communicationsImage source: http://www.networkcomputing.com/

Two of the most loved collaboration tools are audio conferencing and video. These tools give teams a way to effectively and efficiently communicate regardless of location.  Other tools that UC users enjoy are unified messaging, instant messaging, and the corporate directory.

Also check out Part Two where we discuss what users are looking for in Unified Communications today and Part Three where we discuss IT team’s responsibilities in Unified Communications and what to do when starting or expanding a UC solution.

Want to keep reading? Download the full report from Information Week

What are your thoughts on how the Unified Communications Market is going? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!