While I was delivering the keynote at the annual Polycom User Group (PUG) convention late last year, I was able to distribute a survey among attendees regarding their use of unified communications. Eighty-two attendees responded and turned in full or partially complete surveys.This was not random selection or statistically scientific and should not be taken as such, but the data does show trends around unified communications in the enterprise. Respondents were also asked about their current telephony and IT vendors, as well as which ones theyre likely to turn to for UC implementations.Heres a run-down of the key findings: While fewer than 50% of respondents represent large organizations with revenues exceeding $1 billion, more than half have more than 50 locations within the enterprise, and only 13% of respondents say their companies have fewer than five locations. This suggests that even small and mid-size companies are starting to branch out. A majority of respondents (65%) have deployed VoIP to less than 50 percent of their employees, and almost one fifth of respondents reported no plans for VoIP. This is significant, because VoIP is a key component of UC, and often a driver of it as well. Its difficult to imagine that unified communications will be a mainstream application in the next few yearscompanies will likely deploy basic VoIP capabilities first, though perhaps in tandem with stand-alone IM and conferencing applications. A majority of respondents (61%) do not plan on deploying unified communications within the next 12 months, but only 9% say they have no plans to do so at all. Thats good news for UC long term, but it supports the theory that enterprise-wide deployments are years off. Almost 60% of respondents defined unified communications as integrated voice, presence, chat and conferencing capabilities. That leaves more than 15% defining it as unified messaging (integrated voicemail, e-mail and fax), and more than 20% defining it as unified conferencing. Surprisingly, 4% define it as fixed-mobile convergence. Point being: Theres still a ways to go before UC is even understood, let alone properly deployed. 72% of respondents said they were most likely to deploy an integrated unified communications solution from both email and telephony vendors. This is good news for the industry overall, and also supports the notion that PBXs arent going away any time soon. When asked to rank priorities when deploying unified communications, ease of use had the highest average. This was followed by interoperability, cost, security & compliance, and management capabilities, in that order.For more details on this study or for custom data cuts, please visit Frost & Sullivan [www.frost.com
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