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Businesses' Unified Communications Practices Improving, but Hardly Perfect

February 06, 2015 by

Unified communications was once seen as a high-tech, futuristic technology. Now, it's widely viewed as a basic business solution. And as time passes, the necessity and importance of UC solutions will continue to grow.

With that in mind, it's essential for business owners and decision-makers to not only understand the significance of UC for their organizations, but also develop strategies to ensure their companies can and will take advantage of these resources for years to come. By that metric, business leaders are certainly making progress, but there still remains a lot of room for improvement.

Positive Trend

These mixed results were on display in a recent Ovum Research survey. As Techworld reported, this survey included responses from a wide range of IT decision-makers, including CIOs. Among respondents, 78 percent indicated that their organizations had developed strategic UC&C plans. This is encouraging for two reasons. Most obviously, it demonstrates that UC adoption is growing across the board, which will make companies more efficient and effective.

However, arguably even more significant is the implication that businesses are becoming more strategic in their use of UC tools. Simply deploying a UC system to address immediate needs will be beneficial, yes, but it does not deliver the full potential that the technology has to offer. To maximize results both now and into the future, firm leaders need to understand what UC is, what it can do, and how it can be best applied in a given business environment - all of which demands strategic planning in this area.

Beyond this, the report found that companies are also embracing more advanced forms of UC at a growing rate. According to the news source, 22 percent of business leaders indicated their firms will deploy mobile UC tools within 12 months, and 42 percent plan to utilize on-premise managed UC services in this time frame.

A Significant Downside

However, the report was not entirely positive. According to Ovum, less than 20 percent of respondents said they received major contributions from users. This means that in many cases, businesses are deploying UC solutions without first seeking out insight from the employees who will ultimately use the technology. This is a major misstep, as it will often lead to the selection of suboptimal UC resources.

This is where many IT leaders could stand to improve their approach to UC technology. Ultimately, UC's value comes from the way it makes employees more productive, efficient, and enthusiastic about their positions. To this end, it's imperative to ensure that worker attitudes and preferences are taken into account. This is especially important when considering long-term UC strategies. Figuring out how employees' job responsibilities will evolve will make this planning far more effective.

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