Growth of Public Cloud Unified Communications Sluggish: Survey

By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2011-06-17

Among organizations not currently using a public-cloud-based unified communications service, only 10 percent plan to deploy such a service within the next year, according to the findings of a new survey. Respondents to the survey cited concerns over loss of customization, uptime and security.

However, among those organizations that cannot or would not deploy public cloud-based UC services, 48 percent said they would deploy a private cloud as an alternative, according to the findings of the survey, released by Azaleos, a managed messaging, collaboration and UC services company. Asked if they had to choose a public-cloud UC provider, one-third said they would choose Microsoft Office 365, according to a report on the survey.

The report, entitled "Cloud Realities in the Age of Office 365," was conducted by Osterman Research. It summarizes the findings of a survey of IT managers, directors, and CIOs on UC platforms they currently have in place, their perceptions of public, private and hybrid cloud deployments, plans for migrating UC to the cloud, and barriers to the adoption of the cloud for UC.

"This research revealed that larger organizations are interested in the benefits associated with public-cloud unified communications, namely reduced management overhead, predicable cost of ownership, and simpler migration to new services, but are concerned about customization, uptime, and security," said Michael Osterman, president of Osterman Research. "We were surprised to learn that among organizations that said they could not or would not deploy public-cloud-based UC services, nearly one-third indicated that if hybrid-cloud UC solutions were available, they would migrate within the next 12 months."

While the survey found that the majority of enterprises will continue to deploy UC (email, calendaring and scheduling, voice/telephony, presence, Web conferencing, etc.) in on-premise and/or private-cloud infrastructures over the next several years, the public-cloud-based messaging and collaboration market is slowly gaining popularity. The report found the vast majority of organizations (90 percent) not already using cloud-based UC are still a long way from deploying a solution, while 42 percent said they have no plans to do so.

Even if one or more services like content archiving, email security or backup were already running in the cloud, nearly 60 percent of organizations said they would not be more likely to migrate their email to a public-cloud service. The primary reasons for not deploying a public-cloud-based UC system are perceived loss of customization capabilities and IT control, doubts about claims of uptime in the public cloud, and fears about the security of customer data in the public cloud.

If decision makers had to choose a public-cloud UC provider, only one-third would select Microsoft Office 365, according to the report. Among organizations that cannot or would not deploy public-cloud-based UC services, 48 percent said they would deploy a private cloud as an alternative.  Another 43 percent of respondents said they were not sure if they would deploy a private cloud, while only 9 percent clearly indicated that they would not deploy one.

"According to the Osterman Report, public-cloud unified communications services are not considered ready for prime time by most mid-to-large enterprises," said Scott Gode, vice president of product management and marketing for Azaleos. "However, the survey did reveal that many decision makers view private-cloud UC infrastructures as superior to public-cloud options, based largely on their robust customization, flexibility and more mature security benefits."


Rocket Fuel