Ovum: UC Implementation Growing Despite Tight Budgets

On the heels of a study that says the unified communications market will top $1 billion by 2013 comes new research that shows multinational corporations are upping the pace of UC implementation and integration, despite fierce budget constraints.

This latest report comes from global advisory and consulting firm, Ovum, which says rollout has progressed painfully slowly in these huge organizations, but many individual UC applications are now deployed, with a strong focus on video in the coming year. Extending to mobile devices is a priority for many.

Almost all the organizations taking part in this latest survey have a global strategy for implementation of IP telephony.

“More than 40 percent have a global IPT strategy including a roadmap for implementation throughout the company or group – a big change since last year, when only one in four said they had a group-wide implementation roadmap,” said Pauline Trotter, principal analyst based in London.

The dominant model is to have a global IPT strategy, but with implementation requiring business case authority at business unit level, according to the unit’s individual needs and budgets.

Many MNCs are now moving into the global implementation phase and are putting partnerships in place to support this activity. Cisco and Avaya dominate the global vendor partnerships, but a number of other IPT vendors are named. Less than one-third also have a global implementation partner in place – a similar number to last year – with Dimension Data the most frequently named company. A number of other global IPT implementation partners are named, including Orange Business Services and AT&T.

E-mail and IM are the most commonly deployed applications on handheld devices today. However, many of the interviewed EVUA members are planning to deploy more mobile UC applications within the coming year. There is particular interest in telephony presence features; click-to-call from mobile applications; and single voice mail, single number and simultaneous ringing for fixed and mobile. Many companies plan to use dual-mode (GSM/Wi-Fi) devices. There is less interest in extending video applications to mobile devices.

Relatively few of the companies Ovum interviewed are using mobile extensions to the

PBX. About two-thirds have no mobile devices acting as PBX extensions. Modest growth is predicted, with about half of the interviewed sample expecting to be using some mobile extensions within a year.

The mobile UC market, while distinctly immature in terms of service and product offerings, is looking to become a crowded marketplace with multiple supplier types jostling for position. Ovum is interested to see who the EVUA members thought would be the most important suppliers of mobile UC applications and services.

“It looks as if they believe the software collaboration vendors and IPT vendors will dominate in mobility too although many see an important role for multiple types of supplier including mobile operators, SIs and device vendors,” said Trotter.

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