CDW Survey Shows Unified Communications Demand Continues

CDW Survey Shows Unified Communications Demand Continues

CdwTechnology reseller CDW has released the result of a survey showing some large growth numbers for unified communication implementations. The VAR Guy has been keeping watch over the trending topic of unified communications for a while now, but CDW's results show there's more room for growth than The VAR Guy anticipated. Read on for the details and The VAR Guy's channel perspective ...

CDW's latest survey is the company's third annual Unified Communications Tracking Poll, which surveyed 900 IT professionals in the business, government, healthcare and education verticals. The poll's findings showed UC implementation has doubled in 2011 from 2010, but only 16 percent of organizations have fully implemented UC solutions today. For those who have implemented their UC solutions completely, a whopping 76 percent of them have seen a return on investment that has met or exceeded their expectations. CDW noted that figure is up by 5 percent since 2010.

When asked to rank what the highest benefits of UC solutions had been, 53 percent of respondents cited increased employee productivity and 48 percent noted a decrease in operating costs. These are encouraging numbers for anyone working in the UC space -- not only does it show there's plenty of room for growth, but it also can motivate businesses to make the investment.

But of course, there's always room for improvement. The same survey showed that 41 percent of IT professionals had trouble securing a budget for UC implementations, and 29 percent said they had trouble finding reliable cost projections -- clearly areas in which VARs can truly add value. And MSPs, take note: The survey results show 75 percent of respondents who use cloud computing or other hosted solutions saw faster and more cost-effective ways to deploy UC.

The CDW poll cited mobility as one of the catalysts for implementing UC solutions. As more users become mobile, there's a higher demand for a unified and cohesive way to manage, track and communicate across these devices. Accessing e-mails and voice mails through smartphones was seen as especially valuable features. Other key findings showed distance learning as a key feature of UC in higher education, while healthcare organizations see UC as a much more reliable way of communicating in mission-critical environments.

With the recent boom in cloud UC solutions from companies including Alteva and BroadSoft in addition to Avaya's and Polycom's constant stream of technology updates, one thing is certain: The technology is here and the demand is high.

The VAR Guy believes VARs on the fence about UC have never had a bigger opportunity than now. The demand for UC is big and growing bigger; it's time to strike while the iron is hot.

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