Unified communications still fragmented

ROI, implementation issues keep adoption rates low

The firm has seen benefits, such as the ability to connect teams across diverse geographical areas in a more real-time way, and in the future expects to see gains including reduced need for travel, the ability for users to see each other face-to-face in real time for interactive discussions, and more effective team meetings conducted remotely.

Providing a compelling UC business case can be a challenge when trying to justify the deployment across a large organization such as Wells Fargo, Spicer says. "Obviously, not everyone within the bank needs UC to get their job done well," he says. "As the benefits continue to climb with new and more streamlined capabilities and the costs continue to fall with better integrated products and higher capacity infrastructure, the ROI will become easier to support."

UC will continue to evolve, experts say. Gareiss expects to see more integration with mobile devices, or the ability to access a consistent set of UC features from any device. She also predicts more video on different types of devices, and more integration of the various video systems (telepresence, room-based, desktop, and mobile).

And, as with so many areas of computing today, the cloud is having an impact on UC.

"Cloud-based UC is gaining interest, but not huge adoption yet among all sizes of companies," Gareiss says. "For now, we see small and midsize companies, those with fewer than about 1,000 endpoints, making the strongest business case for cloud or hosted UC services."

UC "is not an IT project that is truly ever 'completed,'" Gareiss says. "It's an evolution, and IT staffs will always add new communications, collaboration, enterprise and mobile applications to an overall UC framework."

Bob Violino is a freelance writer in Massapequa Park, N.Y. You can reach him at bviolino@optonline.net.

Read more about networking in Computerworld's Networking Topic Center.

This story, "Unified communications still fragmented" was originally published by Computerworld.

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