Did you know that only two percent of Fortune 1000 (F1000) companies are not considering Unified Communications (UC)? You could say unified communications has indeed arrived.
Plantronics, a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of lightweight communications headset products, recently released its survey of 354 IT and business decision makers. Remarkably, the company learned that a whopping 98 percent of the F1000 companies have already deployed UC or are planning a UC implementation in the next two years. Within the 98 percent, 42 percent of companies have actually deployed a UC solution, 26 percent are in an active pilot program, and 30 percent have not yet taken the plunge but plan on doing so within the next couple of years.
Enterprises can find more interesting survey highlights here, as well as glean insight from the lessons learned by their peers:
1 – Sixty-three percent of F1000 employees do NOT work in an office. Today’s work environment that includes road warriors and telecommuters is a key impetus for the necessary adoption of UC. For enterprises today, the issue is not if, but how the organization can best leverage unified communications.
2 – The #1 planned UC application to be rolled-out is desktop video conferencing. While 46 percent of F1000 companies have already deployed desktop video conferencing, it is predominately being used by executives and board members. Forty-five percent of F1000 companies plan to deploy desktop video conferencing and even more plan to extend the capability throughout the company to other business units like marketing, HR, and finance. For UC to really empower an organization, the capabilities must be ubiquitous throughout the organization, and not just reserved for use within a few small segments.
3 – Audio quality matters. In fact it is critical. Not surprising, users expect the same quality from their UC applications as their traditional desktop phones. It’s important for IT to recognize this user requirement as audio quality is one of the top three problems identified during a UC deployment.
4 - Training is the key to a successful UC implementation of voice applications and devices. It’s not enough to deploy a UC solution. Users must understand basic device functionality, and IT must teach users how to customize options and solve basic issues on their own. In fact, the top two problems identified by IT within F1000 companies are IT staff and end-user training time. It is critical for enterprises to make training a part of implementation, as well as to plan ongoing training to support new applications and to educate new employees throughout the year.
5 – Devices matter. For one, the end-point device connects the user to the UC infrastructure. It is imperative that the device meet the users’ needs and be easy to use. This quote from the survey sums it up well: “At the time [of UC endpoint device selection], we thought the devices would just work and there would be no need to spend time comparing the differences. We saw them as a commodity. We no longer think this way.” To make sure the device meets the users’ needs and is easy to use, IT should evaluate a broad range of devices “hands-on” in the planning phase and include end users in the testing. Integrating the end users real-life testing experience up front will help drive acceptance and a UC solution that makes life easier and more productive for the employee.
More great UC blogs: As enterprises journey through the UC transformation, here are other top reference blogs of 2010:
UC: Ready, Set, Deploy
The View on UC from Over There
A Unified Communication Education
What You Need to Hear about Unified Communications