Driving better operational efficiency within an organisation is a top priority and unified communications is helping to make it happen.
The local UC market is worth an estimated $484.7 million, according to Frost & Sullivan analysts and is predicted to grow by a compound annual rate of 10.3 per cent to 2014.
Despite this, Gartner research vice-president of enterprise communications applications, Geoff Johnson, said it was still early days for unified communications.
“Most enterprise organisations are still looking, thinking and planning,” he said. “Today, we have communications running parallel to IT. In the future the communication is going to be embedded inside IT. Businesses will use UC because it’s a single way to manage all their communications.”
The different elements that make up a UC strategy vary depending on who you talk to but include email, voicemail, instant messaging, unified messaging, audio, video and web conferencing. One of the biggest benefits of selling UC for the channel is the ability to establish a personal relationship with the user.
“[Channel partners] know intuitively who is going to benefit from UC, whereas vendors like Cisco and Microsoft don’t know that with the same amount of intimacy and detail,” Johnson said. “It’s a good opportunity for the channel because it trades on the relationship that they have with the customer.”
Johnson anticipates most organisations will deploy UC technology in stages, starting off with a couple of people trialing it and then expanding into work groups.
In order to properly fit UC into an organisation, resellers also need to consider whether or not existing infrastructure is ready to take it on. Combining different vendor applications to get the right fit for an environment has been a key tactic for resellers looking to make their UC story more appealing.
“Rather than dealing with one particular vendor, savvy resellers have taken up a selection of vendor partners,” Express Data national BDM, Angela Logan-Bell, said. “We’ve been seeing a lot of our partners combining [vendors] to come up with something that works well across a site.”