IT pros look for new UC solutions, cost savings

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IT pros look for new UC solutions, cost savings
This article first appeared on Best in UC. Unified communications (UC) systems are responsible for up to 30 percent of overall IT cost savings. That’s just one finding of a survey conducted at the recent VMworld 2011 Conference in Las Vegas, which hosted IT professionals who were questioned by UC services company Azaleos about their experiences. Azaleos also determined that, among its survey respondents, 31 percent are currently switching to or evaluating new UC systems. Among those, 27 percent cite cost savings as the reason for the move. “According to this survey, enterprise technology buyers view unified communications as a key target for IT cost reduction initiatives, whether by deploying this technology for the first time or switching to a new platform,” said Scott Gode, vice president of product management and marketing for Azaleos. “Although conventional wisdom in the past suggested that IT struggled with justifying the cost of new UC purchases, it was interesting to see that for many respondents outsourcing of unified communications systems represents a significant share of their projected overall IT cost savings.” UC is experiencing rapid adoption as enterprises look for ways to improve collaboration, drive productivity and reduce IT management costs associated with maintaining separate infrastructures for each of these functions. This survey was designed to provide a snapshot of current and planned UC usage trends among corporations. Some of the survey’s additional findings include the following:
  • Companies are most often looking for ways to reduce costs. Yet they are also concerned about security (27 percent), closely followed by uptime/availability (26 percent).
  • IT professionals looking for a UC solution are unconcerned about operating in the cloud. The ability of a system to be “cloud-ready” was identified as the least important characteristic when evaluating a UC system (8 percent).
  • Nearly one-third of companies surveyed are currently switching to a new system or considering a change to a new UC solution. A full 45 percent of Cisco users are looking to switch.
  • Other potential switchers include users of Microsoft Exchange 2007 or lower (44 percent), Groupwise (60 percent), and Notes (50 percent).
  • The product most widely used by respondents was Microsoft Exchanges (64 percent), with a surprising No. 2 being SharePoint (46 percent).
  • The most important applications/functions driving the switch in UC systems are e-mail (32 percent), VoIP/enterprise voice (14 percent), and audio/video conferencing (13 percent).

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