Enterprise Communications

Enterprise Communications in 2011: Buyers Reveal Their Top Priorities

by Rob Arnold 21 Dec 2010
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Frost & Sullivan recently conducted a survey of 200 North American businesses and enterprises to get a look at some trends in their deployment and usage of UC technologies as well as future spending priorities.

Participants in our survey included various types of C-level execs and IT/telecom managers. 79% were from companies with 500 or fewer employees, with the remainder from larger enterprises. We had equal representation across the healthcare, financial services, hospitality, retail, IT/telecom and public sectors.

When asked about their level of focus on developing and implementing a UC strategy accounts in hospitality and healthcare claimed the lead. 

About 30% of our total survey sample reported to have already deployed UC. A near-equal number were in process. About 20% had no plans.

Interestingly, we also found that a broad range of UC applications had between 38%-52% penetration within our survey base. These apps included:

  • IP PBX, PC softphones, audio, web and video conferencing, telepresence, team spaces, social media, mobile extension, IM and UC

In terms of usage we also found that most apps were used extensively throughout the organization. This is somewhat surprising since we expected some apps, such as mobile extension, telepresence and team spaces, to be utilized by specific types of users or groups within a given company.    

With regard to future spending and budgets, the vast majority of our survey participants expect their budgets to either increase or remain flat in the next two years. Accordingly, they expect to increase or maintain their current levels of spending on UC technologies. Less than 5% of respondents expected their budgets and spending to decline.

According to end user feedback, the use of virtualization technologies and utilization of cloud/hosted UC services are also expected to increase in the next 12-24 months.  

Our survey also looked into the commonly debated argument of single source vs. best of breed solutions. We all know the benefits and challenges of both but we asked end users about their future expectations compared to what they have today:

Survey Question: How would you describe your communications infrastructure today (from a communications software point of view)?

                                                          Large Accounts   Small/Mid

 Multi-vendor & not integrated                   48%                   50%

Tightly integrated multi-vendor                 45%                   25%

 End-to-end single-vendor                         7%                   26%

Survey Question: How would you describe your communications infrastructure in 24 months (from a communications software point of view)?

                                                          Large Accounts   Small/Mid

Multi-vendor & not integrated                   29%                   42%

Tightly integrated multi-vendor                 60%                   30%

End-to-end single-vendor                        12%                   28%

From this feedback it is apparent that more tightly integrated solutions are increasingly important to end users. End users are expecting, and will demand, that their multivendor solutions integrate more tightly. End users will also look to single source solutions as a way to achieve this tighter integration.

There were many other intriguing findings in our end user survey. For more detail please check out our December 14, 2010 Analyst Briefing: Enterprise Communications in 2011: Buyers Reveal Their Top Priorities.


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