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UC investments fall short

Many organisations fail to make adequate unified communications investments, mainly because of intangible ROI, says Avaya.

Many organisations are not adequately investing in unified communications (UC) primarily because they do not see any tangible return on investment (ROI) in the solutions.

So says Brett Butler, systems administration manager at Avaya, who adds that most organisations in SA are not looking at UC holistically, and most of them are taking a siloed approach to UC.

However, he notes that many organisations globally are turning to UC to connect people, information, co-workers, partners, vendors and customers to enable better collaborative experiences and improve productivity.

Butler believes that, when well executed, UC can add significant bottom-line value while trimming down costs for most organisations.

In order to gain insight into the South African UC market and the adoption of these solutions, Mail & Guardian, in partnership with Avaya, today launched the Unified Communications Survey.

“We would want to see the different types of unified communications solutions being used in the market,” says Butler. “We would also want to understand how trends like BYOD [bring your own device], cloud computing and the proliferation of video collaboration are affecting the market.”

Among the benefits of a well-executed UC solution, Butler says, is real-time collaboration, as UC provides a platform to integrate business processes with communication platforms.

“With unified communications, organisations can save costs by reducing travel time and reducing CO2 footprints,” he explains. “They will also be able to streamline IT and facilities management; enhance collaboration and service delivery; as well as drive significant time savings for employees.”

He also adds that the best business case for adopting UC comes from the streamlining of mission-critical processes in various vertical markets.

In the South African market, Butler points out that bandwidth costs and availability are still pinning down the uptake of UC. Nonetheless, he points out that the situation was changing for the better.

According to Butler, local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are also finding UC investments difficult to match, and most of them are making use of platforms like Skype.

However, he notes that such solutions are not safe to use as they can be easily breached by hackers.

“Unified communications vendors are now offering video on mobile devices like smartphones, and SMEs can find this a cheaper alternative,” Butler says.

Written by: Admire Moyo