Mobility, Cloud, Video Hold Keys to Future of Unified Communications
The unified communications market is growing, but the rise of mobility, BYOD and cloud computing could help spur adoption, vendors and analysts say.Flotek Industries over the last dozen years or so has grown from a smaller, U.S.-based oil field logistics and products vendor to an international business with more than 400 employees on the move and dispersed around the globe. Much of that growth was fueled by an array of mergers and acquisitions, which brought with them new sets of telephones and other communications systems that had to be cobbled together to support a rapidly growing and far-flung workforce. Outside of the email system, there was no uniform communications platform at the company, according to Mike Seagall, director of IT infrastructure at Flotek. "Over the years, Flotek has grown from acquisitions," Seagall told eWEEK. "Through those acquisitions, it created quite a hodgepodge of phone systems." What the Houston-based company needed was a unified communications (UC) platform that could bring together the disparate communications methods—from voice over IP (VoIP) to instant messaging to audio conferencing—and manage it all from a central console. Flotek also needed a system that enabled collaboration any time, from anywhere and on any device. Users of Cisco Systems' communications products, Flotek officials last year took a look at UC offerings from Cisco, Microsoft and ShoreTel, and settled on ShoreTel's platform.
The results have been positive, Seagall said: reduced capital and operating expenses, elimination of a third-party phone answering system, less administrative support time and costs, an expected return on investment in a year, along with a centralized and simplified management console. Whereas management of Flotek's 400 different endpoints required several people, now it can be done by a single person.