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Survey: Cloud-Based Unified Communications Gaining Traction

Unified communications adoption in the United States has doubled over the past year, and many organizations are moving their UC implementations to the cloud.

These are the key findings of the latest CDW-G Unified Communications Tracking Poll, which surveyed 900 IT professionals across a variety of sectors, including medium to large businesses, government and education.

According to the survey, 16 percent of all organizations have "fully implemented" UC, up from 8 percent in 2010 and 6 percent in 2009. Those organizations that have not yet fully implemented UC are still in the process of doing so (18 percent), in the planning stage (33 percent) or assessing a possible UC implementation (33 percent).

Among the specific UC technologies that organizations have deployed were:

  • videoconferencing (69 percent),
  • IP telephony (66 percent),
  • mass notifications (63 percent),
  • unified messaging (62 percent) and
  • presence (47 percent).

Besides presence and mass notification (which remained flat over 2010), implementations of all of these technologies increased over the past year.

Not only is UC adoption growing, cloud-based UC is also booming. According to the survey, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of all organizations are "evaluating, deploying or have fully deployed" UC via the cloud. The proportion is an even higher 76 percent among medium and large businesses.

The vast majority (75 percent) of organizations with cloud-based UC said that cloud computing made their UC deployments easier and faster, while 65 percent said that cloud computing made their UC deployments more cost effective.

Among organizations that have already implemented UC via the cloud, the most common model is a community cloud (43 percent), followed closely by a private cloud model (42 percent). Public clouds and hybrid clouds trail significantly, at 23 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

For medium and large businesses, UC has been particularly instrumental in cutting operating costs, increasing productivity and making communication more reliable, according to the survey. IT pros from medium and large businesses cited smartphone access to work e-mail and voicemail as the top UC feature, followed by instant messaging and the ability to access voicemail through e-mail.

"Across industries, organizations are embracing 'anytime, anyplace' access to information to boost productivity. They also continue to look for opportunities to use budget dollars more effectively," said Christine Holloway, vice president of converged infrastructure solutions at CDW, in a statement released to coincide with the report. "Unified communications delivers on both of those objectives."

The 2011 Unified Communications Tracking Poll was conducted in February 2011. Forty-three percent of respondents were top IT leaders, including CIOs and directors; 38 percent were IT supervisors, specialists or engineers; 11 percent were telecom supervisors, specialists or engineers; and 8 percent were telecom directors or managers.

The full report is publicly available now. Further details can be found here.

About the Author

Dave Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's educational technology online publications and electronic newsletters.

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