Strangely persistent old habits UCaaS users need to unlearn

CompTIA’s latest research shows cloud-based unified communications is on the upswing, but utilization is at issue


Old habits don’t just die hard – they can also throw a wrench into unified communications (UC) deployment.

That’s according to a recent study by the U.S.-based Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). They surveyed 500 IT decision makers (i.e., end users) and 500 IT firms (i.e., the channel) in the U.S.

First, the good news. Organizations continue to embrace UC services. Here are the current adoption rates:

  • 74 per cent: web conferencing
  • 72 per cent: collaboration platforms
  • 68 per cent: video conferencing
  • 60 per cent: VOIP phone
  • 44 per cent: social enterprise tools

Things are looking particularly sunny for cloud-based UC services or UC as a service (UCaaS). Among surveyed organizations:

  • 73 per cent already use cloud for all their UC
  • 48 per cent use it for all UC except real-time cases
  • 15 per cent are considering cloud for all their UC

“There is momentum towards considering cloud systems for voice and video, a definite change from early (UC) adopters who mostly shied away from these areas with cloud communications,” the study says.

But even though organizations are adopting UC – and moving it to the cloud – their workers aren’t taking full advantage of it. Look at the small percentage of employees who use their UC tools on a day-to-day basis:

  • collaboration platform: 11 per cent
  • video conferencing: 10 per cent
  • social enterprise tools: 9 per cent
  • web conferencing: 8 per cent

Although workers have access to UC tools, they’re turning instead to old standbys like email (used day-to-day by 30 per cent) and analog phone systems (used day-to-day by 25 to 35 per cent).

That’s where those pesky old habits come into play.

“Solution providers should consider service options that go beyond the sale. Education is already an option that many providers offer, but this education should target the entire workforce and not just the implementation team,” CompTIA suggested. “Descriptions of features and capabilities should be tailored to job roles, and special attention should be given to any differences in operating systems,” the authors write.

They also point out that “this learning shortfall may be a business opportunity for solution providers who sell and service (UC) technology.”

Clearly, high adoption rates tell only part of the UC story. It’s time to rewrite the chapter on user rates. Let’s start by listening to what users want and need, then showing – not just telling – them how to really get the best out of UC. If not, UC may become a ‘use it or lose it’ cautionary tale as it moves to the cloud.

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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