UK enterprises lack infrastructure to roll out UC

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Almost half of all European organisations are unable to deploy Unified Communications across all sites, according to a survey by managed services provider Easynet. In the UK, just 28 per cent of organisations believe that their networks are ready to roll out Unified Communications (UC) across all sites and locations, while even in the most ready countries – Netherlands and Belgium – only 40 per cent and 37 per cent, respectively, of enterprises have the network infrastructure in place to meet demand for UC.

The survey, which interviewed 660 IT decision-makers at companies with over 1,000 employees across all sectors throughout Europe, found that less than a third (29 per cent) of organisations’ Wide Area Network (WAN) infrastructure is currently able to fully support UC technology across all sites, while almost half of enterprises surveyed (49 per cent) said they would require network upgrades at some of their sites or locations to fully benefit from the technology.

More significantly, the research revealed that even enterprises that have adopted UC, are not using it to its full potential and therefore not gaining the full benefit of the technology. This is despite the fact that having access to the latest networking technologies, such as UC, across all business sites was acknowledged by all organisations as bringing important business benefits, with 60 per cent seeing improved business efficiency and 45 per cent improved business agility.

The report also revealed a large variation in network readiness between industries, with the sectors most able to roll out UC across the enterprise being telecoms (40 per cent), business and consumer services (41 per cent) and IT/computer services (38 per cent). Industries with the least UC-ready networks were found to be manufacturing (19 per cent) and banking/financial services (21 per cent).

Adrian Thirkill, UK MD of Enterprise at Easynet.

Adrian Thirkill, UK MD of Enterprise at Easynet.

Adrian Thirkill, UK MD for Enterprise at Easynet, said: “Companies across sectors recognise the business advantages of running unified communications across their enterprise, yet this research highlights that only just over half of European organisations are currently able to do so.  Intelligent or Hybrid networks remove the need for massive upgrades and CSPs delivering these can help organisations make the most of their corporate networks and maximise the return of their existing UC investments in order to be as efficient and competitive as possible.”

The study also noted that companies across Europe manifestly showed their trust in their CSP to deliver UC, with 85 per cent of companies across sectors saying they trusted or completely trusted their CSP to deliver it. Notwithstanding this level of trust, and despite requiring the technology, almost one in five companies are still not using their service provider to gain access to this mature technology.

“Running services across large, complicated and disperse enterprise networks has become a standard requirement. A CSP with broad range of networks, an understanding of their customers’ sectors and proficiency in implementing the latest technologies can really make a difference to the way enterprises run their business,” added Thirkill.

About Author

Gary Eastwood

Gary Eastwood has over 15 years of experience as a technology and business journalist and editor. He has held editorship positions on customer magazines for Microsoft, CSC, and EDF, as well as on B2B magazine Mobile Enterprise. He is the former Deputy Editor of Computer Business Review. In a freelance role, Gary has contributed numerous features and articles to a broad range of publications, including New Scientist, Computer Weekly, MIS, Marketing Week, Corporate Financier, Real Business, Wireless Business Review, and driven marketing communications projects for clients, such as Intel, the Confederation of British Industry, IBM, Logicalis, the Department of Trade & Innovation, and many others. Gary has written many white papers on a range of ITC subjects for Datamonitor. He is also an editorial photographer and business videographer, and has authored and ghost-written four books on photography. He is the Co-Director of EastwoodMiddleton Publishing, which provides contract/customer magazines for a growing list of clients, and publishes the B2B magazine for business leaders, Strategist.