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July 14, 2008
Forrester Research is confirming MSPmentor’s long-time assertion that companies increasingly want managed service providers to deliver and maintain unified communications.
According to a research note from Forrester, the number of unified communications and pilots has increased more than 20 percent since last year. I expected even faster growth rates, since the UC market has a small installed based and is just getting started.
We placed unified communications on our emerging technology list when charting the MSP hype cycle earlier this year. Here’s why Forrester thinks MSPs and unified communications are an ideal match.
When it comes to unified communications, customers are dealing with:
Unclear value of ROI, rapidly evolving technologies and standards, immature user interfaces, and a confusing vendor landscape. As a result, many technology decision-makers tell us that they want to rent rather than buy unified communications.
Forrester goes on to say:
This perfect storm of change and uncertainty enables UC vendors, network service providers, and even software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors to win managed UC share by offering industry-specific solutions, enabling rich channel partners, and ensuring that CIOs hear the message of mitigating risk with managed UC deployments.
I agree with Forrester’s assertions, but I think we still have to be careful of the findings. For the most part, the information is based on vendor — rather than customer — interviews.
In fact, Forrester only interviewed eight vendor and user companies (AT&T, British Telecommunications (BT), Cisco Systems, Electronic Data Systems (EDS), IBM, Microsoft, Orange Business Services, and Verizon). All of those vendors have a vested interest in unified communications’ success.
Interviews with midsize and large corporate customers (outside of the service provider market) would have given us an even better feel for UC demand trends.
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