No Jitter is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Unified Communications in Australia & New Zealand

Recently, the Australian and New Zealand branch of Frost & Sullivan held a unified communications roundtable with some of the leading vendors in the space. I thought I'd summarize a few highlights from the larger report.First, some key end-user data from the marketplace:

* Frost & Sullivan surveyed more than 350 chief information officers and found 74 percent believed that cost savings are driving UC investment, with 72 percent also citing efficiency improvement as a reason to embrace UC.

* Seventy-three percent were keen to provide mobility services such as push e-mail, which is up from around 50 percent last year.

* Fifty-five percent of Australian UC solutions are hosted.

* Users no longer see UC as being about devices, but are seeking suppliers who can deliver a complete UC experience.

A few topics were front-of-mind for the participants, especially return on investment and hosted solutions.

On ROI (critical as discretionary spending is questioned at every level):

* "Business value will be critical--where we can show value in terms of reducing costs will be key to the uptake of UC." -- Dinesh Divakar, director of enterprise solutions, Alcatel Lucent.

* "You get customers saying I have a $1 million per annum travel bill and I've got to take 10 percent out. That's relatively straightforward. It gets a little more esoteric around the value of connectivity--it's a little harder to tie down. You have got to understand what the business is trying to do."-- Gerard Florian, Chief Technology Officer, Dimension Data On hosted services (note the speakers, to better understand the POV):

* "[Hosted services] allow organizations to put a toe in the water where they can see who will benefit and step into UC without a huge capital outlay."-- Carol White, director of convergence, Telstra.

* "Hosted offerings have been in the market a long time, but we haven't lost solutions in the enterprise space. It may be more for small to medium businesses... Larger enterprises still want to control their destiny and will roll out their own [solutions]."--Craig Campbell, business unit executive, IBM Global Services

In all, the panelists generally agreed that the goal UC was working toward (whether sold as a hosted or customer-owned solution) was having presence built into all applications, and automatically routing communications and work based on an understanding of both employee presence, and also the structure and work practices (including security and operating policies) of individual enterprises.