Two recent surveys addressing business deployment of unified communications (UC) revealed that there is still progress to be made in providing employees with better collaborative capabilities. A survey by IT education company Webtorials found that only 21 percent of companies had fully adopted unified communications solutions combining voice, video, email, instant messaging and other capabilities. Despite this relatively low rate of adoption, employees are eager for new tools.
According to a separate survey of everyday business users by software provider BroadSoft, 76 percent of workers would be “very keen” or “somewhat keen” to adopt UC solutions. The most highly sought after UC services included mobile integration, instant messaging and web collaboration. Employees responded that they would like to have desk phone features extended to mobile devices, the ability to make and receive calls using a business identity on a personal phone, integrated contact directories and a standard UC application across all devices.
“The survey reflects the fact that workers are frustrated with everyday communications services, such as voicemail and email, and that they have a growing interest in mobile unified communications capabilities,” said Leslie Ferry, Broadsoft’s vice president marketing.
Meeting employee expectations
Particular points of frustration included waiting on information (cited by 78 percent of respondents), locating and contacting someone (69 percent) and the using email to communicate despite its ineffectiveness (58 percent). These issues may be becoming more pronounced as workers become accustomed to communication conveniences in their everyday lives. With the widespread availability of video conferencing and file sharing on consumer devices, many employees – particularly younger ones – do not see why businesses cannot offer the same type of cloud computing solutions, according to Alan Lepofsky, an analyst at Constellation Research.
“Employees who grew up using Google and Facebook expect these types of tools to be available to them,” he told The Wall Street Journal. “They’re going outside of the control of IT now.”
The disruptive nature and security risk of rogue IT and UC adoptions is likely to spur enterprises to increase adoption of such solutions, Lepofsky added. Faced with controlling employee use of consumer-grade solutions, organizations may want to work with a managed services provider to implement a sound, secure enterprise UC plan. By responding to employee demand rather than trying to fight it, businesses can develop better oversight of the technology being used and ensure their infrastructure is protected.