AOTMP Research into the perceptions behind unified communications shows that companies who have implemented a UC solution report that the perceived value of Unified Communications is positive after implementation is complete; concluding that the value proposition found within this technology is definitely worth any enterprise’s attention.

The primary problem with Unified Communications appears to be that no enterprise or vendor is quite sure exactly what it is. This is in no small part the result of vendor portfolios varying in capability and maturity so that it is often difficult for a business to evaluate. It is further confused by the number of vendors who continue to reinvent themselves with a variety of offering under the unified communications banner.

Fundamentally, unified communication is the use of technology to consolidate voice, data and business applications, removing the barriers so that communications can be accessed and utilised by all employees, on a variety of devices irrespective of location, and in the form most useful to them based on business needs and personal preference.

The consolidation provided as part of unified communications provides the potential for significant cost savings. Instead of managing separate networks for voice, data and video, unified communications architectures allow networks to be managed centrally. This can provide cost saving, improved functionality and the opportunity to use telecoms as a source of competitive differentiation in an increasingly difficult economic climate.

The ability to enable all employees, both mobile and those working at distributed locations, with full business telephony capabilities and a common user interface irrespective of device or phone type provides increased productivity and employee satisfaction with the systems provided.

Interoperability can be a major issue as no single vendor today is able to provide all the capabilities that fall under a unified communications banner. TeleWare, as the only UK company to appear in the Gartner UC Magic Quadrant, believe our success is a reflection of technology convergence and the fact that enterprise communications platforms are shifting to software-based applications, which are integrated with each other and with business applications.

As solutions become software based, solution independence from hardware is critical since a Unified Communications solution becomes a key part of the organisation operation and cannot be easily changed as hardware models change or additional processing power or memory is required. Solutions that suggest a move to single vendor architecture are completely missing one of the primary advantages of unified communications – the flexibility and long-term financial benefits of having the ability to change the network as and when required by the business while maintaining a common set of high quality business application for all users.

Today, unified communications solutions can also be provided as Software as a Service deployments as well as on-premise based solutions and so provide the business with the opportunity to move from capex to opex based expenditure.