Unified communications delivering on cost, says survey

Surveyed IT managers and CIOs see unified communications as the standard of the future.

Unified communications are providing significant cost reductions and productivity improvements, leading half of businesses to predict they will be the standard method of business communication in the future.

This is according to a new survey of 100 IT managers and chief information officers in large businesses, which found that on average firms were reducing communication costs by 10 percent using the technology, which brings together channels such as voice, email, fax, instant messaging, videoconferencing and web collaboration. The survey was conducted by Vanson Bourne, on behalf of IT services provider Dimension Data.

The news contrasts with a recent survey by Forrester, which found many firms were testing unified communications, but not actually buying the technology because they were not sure about the cost benefits.

Just under half of the businesses in the new Vanson Bourne survey already had a unified communications strategy in place. Those companies noted 10 percent productivity gains, and a 21 percent improvement in customer satisfaction, from using the technology. Some six in ten businesses said unified communications was a key element in supporting the growth of their company, helping with internal collaboration, greater business efficiency, reduced travel costs and a more flexible workforce.

As an indication of the growth in acceptance of unified communications, 47 percent of businesses said it would become the de facto standard in communications at work.

Mike Robinson, converged communications director at Dimension Data, said that the "relatively new technology" was catching on well. "Even the bottom line is feeling a positive impact: one business reported a 15 per cent increase in revenues as a result of unifying their communications. It's no wonder that the majority of IT managers we talked to see it as crucial to growth."

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