Unified communications trends

The last unified communications (UC) forum met in April 2011 in Basingstoke, UK. Several strong trends emerged.There was intense debate about making a business case for UC and although the IT savings alone may be small:

  • There are measurable benefits outside IT such as reduced travel and real estate costs but they can be difficult to evaluate
  • Companies find real performance benefits from enabling global teams via a single global operating platform
  • There are important resilience benefits. In the last year alone, we have had major disruption caused by earthquakes, snow, tornados, tsunami, hurricanes, volcanoes, transportation failure and industrial disputes
  • IT must work with other stakeholders to build the business case
  • Sometimes a pilot is so successful and the value so obvious, that no formal business case is required.

Participants used video conferencing at all three levels: telepresence suites, video conferencing, and desktop. Sometimes users still find video conferencing hard to operate. However routine use of video is emerging with roundtables on desktops and webcams as standard on laptops. The group’s views on video varied: some thought it a fad; others had “embedded it in all they do”.

The forum was hosted by Sony, with senior IT managers from Shell, Unilever, VISA Europe, Astra Zeneca, and Newport City Homes. Newport City Homes are a Microsoft case study of UC good practice.

The next UC forum meets in the autumn of 2011.

Interested in joining a forum?

We also run regular meetings on other topics such as the Microsoft BPOS and End User Services Forum. If you would like to join any of our forums, please contact us. We work hard to ensure that the organizations in any one forum are of similar scale, face similar issues, and involve senior representatives directly responsible for the specific topic.