Unified Communications is key flexible working enabler, says Calyx survey

UK businesses demand vendor transparency as mobile working gathers pace

Unified Communications is recognised as a key enabler in preparing UK businesses as flexible and mobile working gathers pace but IT professionals are still concerned by risks surrounding this and other communications strategies supporting agile working, says research by leading independent managed service provider Calyx.

A Calyx survey of 100 CIOs, communications managers and business owners asked them to name which single technology innovation contributed most to their business’ agility. UC surprisingly attracted 51% of the vote, outstripping both Cloud computing and virtualisation with 23% and 13% respectively, reinforcing previous research from Calyx[1] that security concerns were holding back adoption of these two technologies.

Calyx’ Business Transformation Index research last year showed that most UK businesses had previously identified the tools needed to transform their company, a finding echoed by the majority of the current study’s respondents who perceived UC as a mobile working enabler rather than a communications technology. Over half (56%) of respondents interviewed in 2012 also said that UC’s key benefit was boosting mobility and productivity, narrowly ahead of the 52% who said its primary advantage was integrating voice and data traffic. Four out of ten respondents said UC enhanced collaboration and nearly as many (39%) said it improved customer service/ general responsiveness.

However, this year’s respondents perceive a number of risks around integrating data and communications. Asked for the top three reasons for not adopting this strategy, interviewees cited lack of clarity over installation and cost of ownership costs, followed closely by implementation being too difficult, and a lack of a single supplier for supply and integration.

These findings put vendors firmly in the spotlight around UC adoption, with businesses now accepting UC technology and its benefits but calling for more transparency and support from suppliers when it comes to TCO and implementation.

When asked what device they would most like to use on their company network, nearly half (44%) of respondents voted firmly in favour of tablet computers. Other favoured technology includes the iPhone (38%), Android devices (26%). Other smartphone options (Blackberry, Nokia) received just 10% of the vote.

Calyx chief executive Martin Mackay said: “UC is increasingly seen by company buyers as a business enabler that rivals Cloud and virtualisation which is a massive shift from its old reputation for complexity and it shows that UK businesses are starting to see the transformational value of modern communications systems. However, businesses remain worried about migration, long term costs and complexity of installations. With UK businesses still very strongly focused on driving efficiencies and mobilising workforce, IT suppliers still have to raise their game to meeting firms’ expectations of these innovations.”

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