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Do You See What I See in UC?

This article originally appeared in the November 2007 issue of Business Communications Review.

Some years ago, one of my college professors stated, “What one perceives as truth is more important than what is truth.” He said this because people tend to act on their perceptions.

Because perception drives action, Wainhouse Research wanted to find out how end users perceive issues and trends in the unified communications market. To this end, we launched an online survey in June 2007, the results of which are helping to shape our predictions about which products are likely to sell and which vendors are likely to see success.

We asked for survey responses from the nearly 12,000 people who download our weekly newsletter, as well as members of the BCR audience and readers of several communications and collaboration websites. We received 370 valid responses, of which 160 were verified end users. Among these end user respondents, 70 percent were from companies with more than 1,000 employees while 43 percent were from companies with more than 10,000 employees.

This article explores some of our findings from this survey and hypothesizes about their implications. We begin by looking at the importance respondents place on planning for UC, who they are most likely to buy UC products from and where they think UC will bring value to their organizations. Then we explore the linkage between IP-telephony and the UC capabilities that end user companies are actually buying.

Do You Have A UC Strategy?

We believe companies that weave unified communication into the fabric of their organization will derive the biggest benefit from their UC investment. To achieve this benefit, however, they will have to develop a concrete strategy for deploying UC and collaboration. One of our objectives was to find out whether, and to what extent, such planning and strategizing is underway.

As shown in Figure 1, our survey found that nearly 30 percent of end user respondents do have a UC and collaboration strategy, while slightly more (31 percent) consider UC and collaboration to be one of their top three initiatives. Our findings also cast doubt on the comments of large vendors, who regularly tell analysts that the Fortune 500 have already developed their unified communications strategy and that these companies already have decided which vendor’s products they will buy. We found that less than half of the end user respondents from companies with over 10,000 employees have a UC and collaboration strategy. Clearly, however, many of them are thinking seriously about it, and very few are rejecting the concept. In fact, only about 7 percent believe UC is not cost-justifiable.

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