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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

UC : Too hard to swallow for SMBs

Unified Communications are clearly being touted as the next big thing to happen in the world of telecommunications, and why not. When you have a combination of various modes of communication like e-mail, voice mail, instant messaging etc. and names like Cisco, Avaya and the mighty Microsoft associated with this upcoming technology, it is bound to make a huge impact. However, a recent study by bmighty.com indicates that the current situation is contrary to what many might believe. According to the report, 69% small and medium scale companies gave a thumbs down when asked 'Have you heard of the term Unified Communications?' While this might not come as a surprise, considering that maybe UC has not found its roots among SMBs, what does come as a rude shock is the fact that when the term Unified Communications was explained to these companies, nearly three-fourths gave an affirmative response regarding familiarity with the technologies involved.

The next observation is that traditional features like voice and e-mail are clearly on top priority when these companies were asked which features they consider to be a part of UC. Strangely, features like presence (knowing who is available online) and integration of communication solutions with desktop applications have found few takers, with slightly more than half of the SMBs considering it a part of Unified Communications. It is a certain fact to be noted that while desktop integration is of utmost importance to smoothen-out the operations of the entire process, knowing online process is certainly a benefit, since managers would instantly know if somebody is available for assigning fresh tasks or matters of higher priority.

The next question dealt with how important the respondents felt each feature was to Unified Communications. While 81% respondents felt that VoIP must be a part of UC, only 53% felt that it is essential for the same, hence highlighting the fact that SMBs necessarily do not find every aspect of the technology of their use, with the highest preference going to Voicemail yet again. On the cost front too, 66% agree that maintaining a traditional communications system is better than deploying a new UC as far as expenses are concerned. Similarly, more than half believe that SMBs should not implement UC until their products become more seasoned. Many companies also feel that their current communication systems are working fine, and fail to see the advantages Unified Communications can bring to their business.

The survey clearly indicates the need for a modified UC system which is also less expensive than the present systems, and also built to suit the requirements of small and medium businesses. Hosted systems are also an option, particularly for startups that may want to invest in a proper UC system of their own once they have that kind of capital. It is now high time for UC providers to consider SMBs also as an active part of their market and turn their attention towards developing applications on a smaller scale also. Generating more awareness about the entire process as a whole is equally important, since without the lack of proper input, any kind of change is always resisted.

8 comments:

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Nikhil Thakkar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nikhil Thakkar said...

Hi.. I read your blog.. I am myself into this field for more than a decade and i feel the same.. Its nice reading along your blog.. keep writing..!!

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