While unified communications has traditionally been seen as improving internal communications, there is now an increasing perception among businesses that it can also boost commercial performance, according to Evan Kirchheimer, practice leader of enterprise services/telecoms at Dimension Data.
Presenting the findings of the 2016 Connected Enterprise Report from Dimension Data at UCEXPO 2016 in a presentation entitled ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Unbelievable’, Kirchheimer told delegates that increasing productivity (19 per cent of survey respondents) was the main priority of businesses when it comes to implementing a collaboration strategy. However, he noted that it was the first time that collaboration was also perceived as boosting sales (14 per cent).
Conversely, only 4 per cent of organisations use return on investment (ROI) as the primary method of determining whether their deployment of new collaboration technologies has been a success.Citing the results of interviews with senior decision makers at more than 900 enterprise with 1,000-plus employees, Kirchheimer also noted the changing influence of line of business (LOB) managers in the decision-making process, with nine out of 10 business managers saying they had a significant role in decisions about their organisation’s collaboration strategy.
Describing the ‘bad’ aspects of the results, he pointed out that 25 per cent of LOB managers admitted to using collaboration tools designed for consumer use, meaning that they did not have IT approval and lacked enterprise licences.
“So we have employees with company data on their mobile devices, with no SLAs, no contract, and no security. This is a very risk strategy,” said Kirchheimer.
In the same vein, he noted that 37 per cent of organisations felt that collaboration had failed to provide them with any competitive advantage, while one-third of companies provide web conferencing tools, but very few employees use them.
However, Kirchheimer suggested that these factors were down to poor follow-up by IT departments. “A lot of IT departments are rolling out collaboration deployments, but they presume that they have been a success, just because the ‘lights are on’. IT is often not following up and measuring success parameters. Victory is not about deploying the tool, it is about on-going training and follow up about who’s using the tools and what for,” he said.
Outlining the ‘unbelieveable’ aspects, Kirchheimer noted that 38 per cent of organisations still do not have a defined UC&C strategy. More than one-quarter focus on successful deployment of collaboration technology, rather than how it’s adopted, with organisations spending money just to replace old systems or rolling out new standalone applications, rather than working to a coherent framework.
He concluded: “If you adopt a piecemeal approach you will not get the full value from your investment. It’s very worrying that four out of ten large enterprise are spending millions every year, but do not have a defined UC&C strategy – that’s unbelievable, how can you expect to get away with that?”
A copy of the full 2016 Connected Enterprise report can be downloaded here: www.connectedenterprisereport.com.