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Unified communications comes of age

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Unified communications is high on most companies' agenda, now that they are perceived to be reasonably mature. More companies polled in a recent Dimension Data survey say they will invest in these technologies within the next six months to two years. 

The research shows that organisations view click-to-dial on desktops (52%), and presence (42%) as maturing technologies which will be routinely used in the corporate environment within two years.
Most organisations have already invested in infrastructure technologies with 37% of companies currently using IP telephony, followed by 36% using a video conferencing infrastructure. Although mobile VoIP is not widely used, an investment is on corporate agendas, in the next two years.
The US leads the way in IP telephony adoption (60%) with Middle East and Africa having the lowest penetration at 13%.
Rob Lopez, MD: solutions at Dimension Data, says: “The research indicates that unified communications and the associated technologies are more widely adopted than anticipated. Whilst organisations have been reluctant or unable to adopt these technologies as a corporate standard, Dimension Data clients around the world are telling us that consumers are bringing these technologies into the workplace.
“Organisations intuitively understand the value of unified communications and the associated benefits. These include improved employee productivity and customer service, as well as infrastructure cost savings.   In addition, the move to work-from-home – or flexi-working – initiatives around the world has also impacted the increase in adoption.”
The research confirms that the management of unified communication technologies is being outsourced more frequently than other technologies, with 38% of the sample currently having technologies managed onsite or fully managed, followed by voice/data network management (34%).
"While companies consider the functionality that unified communications offers as core to conducting business in a profitable and cost effective way, these technologies can become complex to deploy and manage," says Lopex.
"Deploying unified communications as a corporate tool requires a stable operating environment, standardised systems and common identity management."
Other key findings in the Dimension Data survey include:  unified communications is a vibrant and developing market; security is a concern rather than an issue; unified communications technologies are more likely to be outsourced or externally managed than other technologies; and unified communications mindshares are dominated by alpha brands within each market.
The research, commissioned by Dimension Data and conducted by Datamonitor, surveyed 390 IT managers and 524 end-users across 13 countries in the US, Asia Pacific and Europe, Middle East and Africa.