According to the results of interviews performed by business information specialist Pearlfinders, 22 per cent of all IT decision makers are planning to increase their investment in unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) technologies in 2016, with flexible working mandates and M&A/restructuring and growth cited as the main drivers.
Annual interviews with 3,000 senior IT decision makers reveals that the Industry/Manufacturing sector is leading the way, with 27 per cent of respondents saying that they will be increasing UC&C investment this year, up from 24 per cent in 2015.
Travel and tourism ranked second, doubling from 2015 to 14.3 per cent of organisations planning to up their UC&C spend in 2016, followed by Automotive (11 per cent) and Financial Services (9.5 per cent).
“Demand for UC in the automotive and travel sectors is higher than ever, as everyone from Kia and Vauxhall to Virgin Trains look to implement the level of mobility, collaboration and connectivity that staff and customers expect at every touch-point,” said Mike Thorne, Commercial Director at Pearlfinders, speaking to UCInsight.com.
He added: “Two trends suppliers stand to benefit from in particular are companies getting serious about flexible working, and the record levels of M&A activity. There is a huge opportunity for UC providers able to identify potential clients that fall into either of these categories.”
Respondents were also asked what was the trigger for investment in UC&C technologies in 2016. ‘Restructuring and growth’ was by far and away the most important reason, chosen by 76 per cent of respondents (up from 70 per cent in 2015), followed by ‘To improve service / Innovation’ (14 per cent), ‘Merger and acquisition’ (7 per cent) and ‘A new CIO / IT Chief’ (2 per cent).
“Naturally, mergers represent an excellent opportunity for UC providers, as PSLs and infrastructure are inevitably reviewed at both companies. CIOs at merging firms – often with a fresh mandate to upgrade ageing equipment and connect new sites – make some of the best prospects,” explained Thorne.
He concluded: “CIOs are increasingly under internal pressure to meet 2014 legislation on flexible working – analysts predict 70 per cent of businesses will be flexible by 2020 – and UC experts are in a strong position to act as trusted advisors on this. Based on our interviews with senior IT budget-holders over the last 12 months, almost twice as many are reviewing UC & mobility provision, with over 70 per cent identifying internal restructuring as the main catalyst for investment.”