Mobility Is The Tail That Will Wag The UC Dog

How much of your IT operating and capital budget will go to UC related investments? I predict that spending by large distributed enterprises (defined as firms with 1,000 or more employees) on communications infrastructure and services will grow between 7% and 10% per year during the next three years. Moreover, there will be a gradual shift away from hardware to software, and wireless connectivity will account for MOST of the growth in communications services spending.

Momentum is building for broader UC adoption, and our Q1 2011 survey of 601 firms that have implemented or are piloting a UC solution showed that 55% of the respondents consider UC a top priority this year.

There are two BIG drivers of widespread UC adoption in large distributed organizations: Mobility and new business models (how UC technology and services are delivered). Mobility will become the “tail that wags the UC dog.” Why? Consider the management and usage cost efficiencies offered by fixed mobile convergence (FMC)  technology — least-cost routing savings including reduced international calling and roaming charges,  to name one.

In addition, to mobility’s definitive motivation for UC adoption, the onslaught of business demand and complexity arising from historically decentralized communications sourcing are pushing firms to seek more options to offer their businesses for UC delivery. IT wants to standardize on a single vendor/service UC platform (63% of survey respondents said so), so they need to offer business budget holders right-fit delivery options to get them on board. My work with several global clients during the past 18 months on developing global strategies for UC sourcing suggests that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t fly. I anticipate instead that distributed organizations will adopt hybrid delivery models including internally and third-party managed premises-based IP telephony, and the same or another vendor’s presence and instant messaging, click-to-call/conference, unified messaging applications that might be delivered in-the-cloud for some or most sites. For most large sites with many UC users, the business will opt for a premises based solution, while smaller sites will be more suitably (cost-wise) served by a hosted UC solution based on the same vendor platform, or one that seamlessly integrates with it.

I will be presenting a briefing session at our Sourcing And Vendor Management Forum in Miami (Nov. 6 – 8, 2011) and London Nov. 30 – Dec. 1, 2011), and I’m looking for examples of  your UC sourcing experiences and how you’re approaching the challenges of implementing a large-scale multicountry UC deployment (1,000, 5,000 or more UC users). Please send your insights, experiences and recommendations for peers to me during the coming weeks.