Unified communications delivering on cost, says survey

LONDON – Unified communications are providing significant cost reductions and productivity improvements, leading half of businesses to predict they will be the standard method of business communication in the future.

This is according to a new survey of 100 IT managers and chief information officers in large businesses, which found that on average firms were reducing communication costs by 10 per cent using the technology, which brings together channels such as voice, e-mail, fax, instant messaging, videoconferencing and Web collaboration.

The survey was conducted by British IT marketing consultancy Vanson Bourne, on behalf of London-based global IT services provider Dimension Data.

The news contrasts with a recent survey by Forrester Research, which found many firms were testing unified communications, but not actually buying the technology because they were not sure about the cost benefits.

Just under half of the businesses in the new Vanson Bourne survey already had a unified communications strategy in place. Those companies noted 10 per cent productivity gains, and a 21 per cent improvement in customer satisfaction, from using the technology.

Some six in 10 businesses said unified communications was a key element in supporting the growth of their company, helping with internal collaboration, greater business efficiency, reduced travel costs and a more flexible workforce.

As an indication of the growth in acceptance of unified communications, 47 per cent of businesses said it would become the de facto standard in communications at work.

Mike Robinson, converged communications director at Dimension Data, said that the “relatively new technology” was catching on well. “Even the bottom line is feeling a positive impact: one business reported a 15 per cent increase in revenues as a result of unifying their communications. It’s no wonder that the majority of IT managers we talked to see it as crucial to growth.”

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