Unified Communications, BYOD a Growing Interest for Businesses

Results suggest businesses have taken a reasonable and careful approach to bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives, though security issues remain.

Between 34 percent and 42 percent of large enterprises will be seriously considering procuring various unified communications (UC) applications as a premise-based, but managed, service, by 2015, according to the findings of the Dimension Data 2013 Global UCC Study conducted by research firm Ovum.

The report indicated that while businesses should not ignore the cloud options–particularly as more become available for large enterprises–they should also be looking for a services partner to manage their evolving unified communications and collaboration (UCC) assets and investments.

"Premise-based managed UCC is already significant, and almost as pervasive as premise-based internally managed," Peter Menadue, Dimension Data’s group general manager for Microsoft solutions, said in a statement. "The fact that enterprises have opted for managed services in the past, across a broad range of UCC applications, indicates that they understand these areas are complex and they often do not have the in-house expertise (or the budget) to support UCC evolution on their own."

Results also suggest U.S. businesses have taken a reasonable and careful approach to bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives, with more than 60 percent of firms supporting employee owned smartphones and tablets, and almost 20 percent indicating support for those which have arrived in the organization without official vetting.

In addition, an additional one-third said they expect to support unvetted employee devices in the next two years (such support typically involves, at the least, access to corporate email). The survey also identified an opportunity for U.S. enterprises to roll out further UCC applications on such devices, as core UCC is supported on less than one-third of BYOD devices now.

"Organizations should ensure their suppliers are able to identify targets for such savings, and that they offer the tools which enable this, such as telecoms expense management, voice over WAN, and contract and operator management," Menadue said. "Operationalizing costs, by taking UCC under management and ensuring suppliers commit to cost reductions over the period of the managed services contract, can also free up valuable funds for strategic investment."

Decision-makers reported keen interest in further investment and concrete plans to advance in the next year, across the array of UCC applications. Social collaboration uptake is expected to double in two years, and by 2015 the majority of large businesses will have deployed an enterprise social collaboration tool as part of an overall UCC strategy, the report reveled.

The top three included standard UC, such as unified messaging, presence, softphone, mobile UC, typified by UC clients on smartphones and tablets, and enterprise social software. Just over one-fifth (22 percent) of large enterprises report plans to roll out standard UC within a year, and another 22 percent said they have such plans for mobile UC.

However, despite the existence of private cloud solutions for a number of years, enterprises are opting to take a cautious approach to cloud adoption. Just 20 percent of enterprises said they plan to seriously consider cloud for UCC deployments in the next 24 months, and across all UCC applications, less than 30 percent of companies said they would seriously consider traditional premise-based unmanaged deployments.