The survey results confirm that UC solutions represent a significant sales opportunity for the channel. Over 85 percent of channel respondents considered the operational cost savings and increased productivity that UC can deliver to be important benefits to their customers, making UC a compelling and relevant solution.
The UC opportunity was revealed to be equally compelling to the telecoms channel, and the vast majority of channel respondents stated that most of their customer base is either trialling UC solutions, implementing them or have plans to do so within a three year timeframe.
Apart from the continued move to VoIP telephony, respondents also see fixed-mobile convergence as the next best sales opportunity for this year. It is worth emphasising that over 29 percent of respondents selected investing in existing systems as the preferred migration path to UC for customers, while only 10.7 percent identified a ‘rip and replace’ approach. This illustrates how important it is for UC vendors and channel partners to offer solutions that allow leveraging and extending existing customer IT and telephony investments.
In terms of vertical markets, financial institutions have always been early adopters of modern technologies as technology facilitates processes, which in turn can help generate higher revenues. Consequently channel partners believe that financial services is the leading sector in terms of interest in deploying UC applications with over 24 percent selecting it as their first choice. IT and telecommunication vendors and service providers, professional services (including legal, real estate, consulting, accounting, HR and others), as well as the healthcare sector also present the channel with considerable revenue opportunities.
Commenting on the research findings, Dorota Oviedo, Industry Analyst for the Unified Communication & Collaboration group at Frost & Sullivan said, “Channel partners themselves seem to be rather positive about the consequences of industry transformation on their business and are demonstrating an ability to adapt quickly to changing industry conditions. They identified the diversification of product and services portfolio as the primary effect on their business (selected as first choice by 15.4 percent and third choice by 38.5 percent). Channel partners also believe that the merger of telecom and IT will allow them to enter new markets and develop new relationships with customers.”
Alan Reeve, Managing Director of Aastra Telecom (UK), added, “Mobile phones have become an indispensable tool for enterprise communications. With more and more business done on the move or remotely, it is vital that companies be able to integrate mobility into their communications environment for improved productivity, reachability and responsiveness. The results of this survey support Aastra’s focus on mobility as a crucial accelerator to the adoption of UC solutions. Aastra also has a long-standing strategy to protect the customer’s investment – more and more customers realise the extent to which they can leverage their existing solutions to move to new advanced solutions.”