UC traction low amongst small business

By : |January 31, 2010 0

BANGALORE, INDIA: In a recent survey by Ovum with multinational corporations (MNCs), it was detected despite fierce budget constraints, they are upping the pace of unified communications (UC) implementation and integration.

UC rollout has progressed painfully slowly in these huge organizations, but many individual UC applications are now deployed, with a strong focus on video in the coming year. Extending to mobile devices is a priority for many.

According to the Ovum survey, Email and IM are the most commonly deployed applications on handheld devices today. There is particular interest in telephony presence features; click-to-call from mobile applications; and single voicemail, single number and simultaneous ringing for fixed and mobile. Many companies plan to use dual-mode (GSM/Wi-Fi) devices. There is least interest in extending video applications to mobile devices.

"More than 40 per cent have a global IPT strategy including a roadmap for implementation throughout the company or group," said Pauline Trotter, principal analyst, Ovum. The dominant model is to have a global IPT strategy but with implementation requiring business case authority at business unit level, according to the unit’s individual needs and budgets. wth is predicted, with around half of the interviewed sample expecting to be using some mobile extensions within a year.

SP Speak

The above survey, which was only carried within MNCs, only reiterates the very fact that UC has, till now, dominated the enterprise space, but small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) haven’t really experimented with it.

S Nautiyal of Spark Technologies, one of the solution providers in India offering UC services, explained that it is mainly the large and medium enterprises that seek to implement UC solutions in India today.

"The awareness about UC solutions is on the rise in most emerging IT nations across the globe and India is no exception. However, the adoption is still in its nascent stages in small and medium enterprises (SMEs)," he added.

Agreeing to this point, Kedar Shah of Nirmal Datacomm elaborated that his customers are mainly from the corporate sector and large organizations such as Times of India. "India is slowly realizing the potential of UC, but the thought hasn’t crossed the minds of SMBs as yet. The reason for this is very simple. Most SMBs are not geared towards high-tech solutions. Small companies do not have technical bandwidth to implement UC solutions and more so, maintain it."

Both SPs were in agreement that SMBs have the same communication pain points as enterprises, but the SMB has fewer resources, which has delayed the traction of UC.

Whether using Skype on smartphones, installing in-house IP PBXs or using web conferencing services, SMBs are signaling their desire to utilize all available communications and collaboration solutions, but they are not familiar with the notion of UC, nor are they aware of the various platforms being cobbled together through acquisitions in the IT space.

What SMBs need and are willing to pay for today are easy-to-use point solutions that can help them enhance their business communications and collaboration skills at little cost and without requiring heavy IT support.

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