It may come as no surprise that a users group is giving its collective thumbs up to unified communications. But what may come as a surprise is the sheer number of users who plan to make major investments in their communications infrastructure this year.
The International Avaya User Group, which consists of Avaya and legacy Nortel customers, recently released the results of its annual survey of the communications plans of its members that is conducted by Webtorials Analyst Group. A whopping 85 percent of the 700 or so respondents said they planned to invest heavily in communications this year. For most, plans include integrating their existing communications technologies and providing support for mobile employees, with 70 percent investing in IP Telephony and almost half – 46 percent – planning to acquire specific unified communications solutions and applications.
But when it comes to full-fledged unified communications environments, a whopping 67 percent of respondents said they had projects already under way or set to begin within the next 24 months. The most popular reasons cited for adopting unified communications include:
- Increasing collaboration and productivity among employees, customers, suppliers (50 percent)
- Enabling employees to easily communicate when they are mobile (44 percent)
- Reducing costs (35 percent)
- Improving customer service (32 percent)
- Being able to offer a consistent user experience across locations and devices (29 percent)
Granted, the survey only addressed current users of Avaya – and now Nortel – technology, and Avaya is a company that has been chanting the unified communications mantra for a while now. But if the results of this survey are any barometer of the business environment at large, it would seem as though companies are once again opening their wallets and exploring new ways of doing business more effectively and efficiently. And unified communications is once again filling that need.