There is a lot of talk about the shift in the enterprise communications market to a single platform including desktop and mobile integration aka the new “unified communications.” For enterprises this shift is long overdue, but unfortunately, unified communications and collaboration creates another layer of complexity for IT departments, it can create a backlog of to-dos just to ensure that everything is on the same page. What are those to-dos though? What is the scope of work really like for an IT professional?  We’ve outlined what the convergence of voice, data, mobile and video is doing to the industry and what a shift in the unified communications market means for the IT professionals on your team.

Why is this conversation important?

Communications at the enterprise level have come a long way since the days of just voice and data. In order to keep up with the rapid growth of technology, global teams and overall era of telecommute organizations have embarked upon. The spread of video and mobile has led to a modification in the definition of unified communications to include incoming and outgoing communications in all media types.

The Unified Communications Market Shift

The expectations for IT departments have ramped up as well with the demand for better ways to communicate and do business more efficiently and productively. Anywhere, anytime access to any-kind of communication is happening everywhere regardless of the rumors of complex deployments, maintenance and and management of a truly unified environment.

However, there is some truth to the rumors. Yes, it is true that the UC ecosystems of 2015 are often not solely on premise networks, rather a mixture of desktop, mobile and hardware endpoint collaboration solutions inside and outside of the organization. That kind of integration and interoperability requires some serious IT resources to manage effectively, (CIO’s and CTO’s for enterprises know this) leading to the decision of whether or not to go with outsourced services or take it on in-house.

Going For The Big Win

When the Director of Technology Operations for Forbes, Scott Evon,  pushed for a communications overhaul of the 100+ year old media company headquartered in New York City he ran against this particular predicament – save money and go in-house or outsource. Choosing to go with a mixture of the two he said, “The flexibility of the platform and how we can use it to work more closely with our customers and our internal staff is the biggest win on this.” Forbes moved ahead with unified communications for the big win (audio, video and mobile) and took a small loss with outsourced services – to free up more time for the IT department to focus on emerging technologies. This is a common approach, but it’s not the only way to handle the incoming storm.

Once global enterprises get wind of unified communications and begin to understand the impact it can have on the bottom line the, IT has to be ready to make it run like a well oiled machine. It’s a tidal wave that is coming whether we like it or not.

According to Tejas Vashi, director of product strategy and marketing at Cisco, “You really need someone who has a view and has an understanding on how to test, configure, deploy, maintain, troubleshoot the entire collaboration suite — voice, video and data. That’s the skill-set that’s been created in the industry.” And what a precedent that skill-set has created.

Looking Ahead

Companies are clamoring over ways to simplify the everyday tasks of their workers in hopes of making their other responsibilities and so the unified communications market has been forced to make a shift. Either keep up, or become obsolete. As we look to 2019, we can see several unified communications market highlights:

  • The new huddle room era causes a ripple effect
  • UC solutions getting smarter

Our biggest takeaway and we think Cisco would be compelled to agree is that the traditional meeting space is no more, which is causing a ripple effect involving UC. As huddle rooms become more of the norm, this will require a significant amount of investment and energy from several departments across the board, including facilities management, IT and even C-level input and perspective to ensure that collaboration is not lost and that these new non-traditional meeting spaces can house these unified communications solutions in an effort to continue open communication and collaboration.

The unified communications market though, should in turn, have no problem keeping up with these huddle space demands. They are getting smarter. Increased mobility amongst the work force is driving this. In an effort for business to truly be “all in” for open communication and collaboration, traditional unified communications solutions, meeting spaces and the like cannot constrain any employee. As a result, we’ll start seeing more and more of the AI, mobile device, intelligent meeting room solutions that will make it harder for the average “workaholic” employee to achieve any sort of work-life balance. 

With expectations that there’s no slowing down the growing remote employees trend, the unified communications market is continuing in the growth period it’s been experiencing the past couple of years. Since this is a metaphorical tidal wave, Vyopta suggests everyone to embrace it. Give organizations the IT team resources they need to build a better ship for companies to ride the wave of communication. In other words – empower your IT team by giving them the tools they need to manage, optimize and troubleshoot your UC and video conferencing networks. Use real time monitoring to help your support resources. Use historical analytics to free up some time spent creating reports, simplify management from a single screen, and maximize utilization to enhance the ROI of video. Adopt a huddle room or two and if you’ve already taken on video conferencing or unified communications at the enterprise level, chances are, all of this is just a refresher course. 

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