Enterprise Communications

Welcome 2010!

by Elka Popova 11 Jan 2010
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I would like to extend a warm welcome to our readers and a heartfelt wish for a Happy New Year!

We are glad to be offering Unified Communications & Collaboration (UC&C) coverage on our new Frost & Sullivan Information & Communications Technologies (ICT) blog. We are hoping to be able to provide you with valuable insight and provoke some interesting comments and discussions.

My name is Elka Popova and I lead the North American UC&C team whose members include (in alphabetical order by first name): Alaa Saayed, Krithi Rao, Melanie Turek, Roopam Jain, Subha Rama and Vanessa Alvarez. We will all be contributing to this blog and don’t be surprised if you "hear" us debate and sometimes disagree on certain topics or issues

I was wondering what would make a good first post, especially since we just started a new year. Given the severe negative impact of the recession we experienced over the past year, what most of us are eager to find out is whether we can expect improved enterprise spending on UC&C technologies in 2010. Therefore, I thought I would share some of the findings of an end-user survey we conducted in the heart of the recession in the first half of 2009. The survey targeted 102 U.S. C-Level executives in organizations with operations in more than 3 locales – within or outside the U.S. – with more than $100 million in revenues.

As you can see from the following slide, the majority of our respondents identified the main UC&C technologies as either very important or somewhat important. Based on the rest of the information obtained through the survey as well as our extensive knowledge of each of these individual technology markets, we believe the differences in degree of importance are mainly due to two sets of factors: technology maturity and respective customer awareness, on one hand, and perceived value of these technologies to the various users within the organization, on the other. For example, Telepresence and UC are relatively nascent technologies and customers are still confused about their benefits. Further, Videoconferencing, UC and Telepresence can be viewed as somewhat "nichy" and having a considerable appeal to only a limited set of roles and functions within customer organizations.

The following chart shows how respondents assessed the importance of each UC&C technology in delivering certain benefits. As the survey suggests and our research proves, technologies that ranked high in terms of customer expectations of cost reduction benefits (e.g. all conferencing technologies) fared well in the recessionary economy in 2008 and 2009.

Going forward, technologies enabling businesses to reduce costs are likely to continue to be on the investment agenda, but those delivering productivity and other benefits are likely to experience growing traction as well. The last chart attached below shows a notable increase in UC investment, for example, over the next couple of years.

Let's all strap ourselves for a very dynamic market in 2010 as the economy gradually resumes its stride on an upward growth trajectory. Please make sure we hear of your success stories!

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