State of UC&C Tools, Part 2
Technology maturity and increasing customer awareness are driving deeper penetration of tools.
Audio and web conferencing applications and services rank among the most pervasive tools in use today, according to Frost & Sullivan's 2012 IT Decision Makers' View of the Enterprise Communications Evolution survey of more than 200 CXOs. Notably, instant messaging is popular in all sectors as well, including heavily regulated verticals such as healthcare and financial services.
Technology maturity and increasing customer awareness are driving deeper penetration of tools, resulting in more than 50% of respondents reporting that employees use most tools extensively at all levels of the organization. Usage of more costly or newer tools (e.g., video conferencing and social media) remains limited to senior management or select departments.
IP PBX and unified messaging are typically deployed company-wide, which explains their extensive usage at all levels of an organization. The usage of soft phones, mobile clients, and shared team spaces remains limited to certain parts of the organization due to their novelty and specific purpose.
Daily use is common among the majority of tools. Yet the conferencing tools most popular with CXOs themselves are used only on a weekly or less frequent basis. IP PBXs, soft phones, and instant messaging are mission-critical tools in the daily performance of CXOs. Video has not yet become the new voice, as videoconferencing is not employed daily by most executives, let alone front-line employees.
Current deployments and plans to deploy UC&C solutions are similar to last year, with the largest proportion of respondents having already deployed or in process. Roughly one quarter of respondents have no plans to do so.
A large proportion of financial services firms are not planning to deploy within the next three years, while manufacturing is mostly considering it within the next 12 months. Notably, the public sector has mostly already deployed or is currently deploying, despite not ranking their UC&C strategy high in importance.
Integration of UC&C into business processes is either part of long-term plans or not planned at all. Recent or current deployments are very limited and are more prevalent among the manufacturing and public-sector industries.
The importance of communications and collaboration tools is high, with nearly nine out of ten respondents ranking unified messaging/visual voicemail as the most important. Although enterprise social media tools fall at the bottom of the list in importance, they are still ranked as important by more than six out of ten CXOs.
The most prominent benefits across most tools are cost reductions, improvements in customer service, and accelerated decision making. Notably, enterprise social media tools rank high for the potential to help organizations improve their competitiveness in the marketplace.