Truly Unified Communications and Collaboration Technologies Still Not Mainstream
Those who have deployed advanced UC&C generally expect usage to increase or stay the same over the next year, while a large portion of non-users report no plans to adopt new tools in the next year.
According to Frost & Sullivan's 2012 IT Decision Makers' View of the Enterprise Communications Evolution survey, awareness and usage of various communications and collaboration tools is increasing. The C-level executives who participated in the survey report the highest level of awareness and usage for instant messaging and conferencing (including audio, video, and web). Despite the industry spotlight on enterprise mobility, mobile extension applications rank only average among the tools listed in terms of awareness, organization use, and personal use by decision makers.
Enterprise social media tools and shared team spaces are likewise getting a lot of attention in the industry. But these applications also rank in the middle of the pack in terms of awareness and usage.
Organizations that have deployed advanced communications and collaboration tools generally expect usage to increase or stay the same over the next year, while a large portion of non-users report no plans to adopt new tools in the next year, mainly because they have other technology investment priorities or believe the new tools have limited value.
Overall, communications and collaboration tools are meeting organizations' expectations--with the exception of enterprise social media tools, which most users have not integrated with formal marketing, market research, and other traditional customer acquisition and retention programs.
Indeed, most of the CXOs in the survey said that although they currently manage a complex mix of UC&C products from a variety of vendors--and although they also hope to simplify that situation in the near future--very few have actual plans for integration, either across the applications themselves or with broader business software or processes.
Among the leading UC&C solutions providers, AT&T tops the list as most generally and primarily used. However, Skype earned top honors in reported customer satisfaction (although while 31% of survey respondents generally use Skype, only 6% list Skype as their primary provider).
The financial services sector is the leading adopter of unified messaging and visual voicemail, perhaps due to regulatory mandates. Surprisingly, penetration of unified communications clients is deepest within the hospitality vertical. Also somewhat surprisingly, enterprise social media tools have had their greatest traction within the public sector.
Adoption of video conferencing tools was highest in hospitality and the public sector--a departure from conventional wisdom, which suggests healthcare and education would rank among the greatest adopters of visual collaboration tools.
Plans for future deployment of UC&C solutions do not vary significantly by company size, but larger organizations have plans to deploy them more actively. Smaller companies are more hesitant, likely due to budget constraints and/or lesser requirements for advanced communications tools.