As companies pursue their strategies for mobility, cloud, and social tools, they will also be looking for a common thread that ties together their technology investments and allows their employees to work together more productively. Unified communications, while not a new concept, will nonetheless be a highly desired solution to this problem. IDC predicts that the worldwide UC market will hit $27.3 billion in 2012, including equipment, software, and services.
CompTIA released an inaugural study in the field of UC in 2011. The research found that while companies expect to invest in UC (49% expected spending on UC to outpace other IT expenditures), there is still a need to define the overall concept (80% of channel partners believe further clarity will improve the sales and marketing process). One foundational piece of the UC puzzle is clear, though: The expected change in customer focus over the next two years indicates both a shift towards different technologies and a balancing of many areas in an overall communications strategy.
Just as there is a large opportunity in tying a suite of tools together to form a cohesive solution, there is similar opportunity in enabling collaboration using that solution. Fifty-nine percent of UC solution providers see customer demand for improvements in staff productivity and efficiency as a primary market driver. Realizing these improvements requires full use of the benefits of each point tool as well as the know-how to effectively use specific tools and features for specific situations. Solution providers should be prepared to share the value of educational offerings as a follow-on to implementation.
CompTIA's 2nd Annual Unified Communications Market Trends study was developed from a survey of 500 end user firms in the U.S. The data was collected during March 2012.
CompTIA members can read the full report here.