450+ UC Professionals Drop Truth Bombs and Top 58 Resources

No matter the industry, it’s rare you have the opportunity to hear from the experts on the front-lines. Quite often, they’re so busy holding down the fort that they’re unable to share the hands-on experience and hacks we all crave. Instead, we find ourselves sifting through endless online resources, and wasting time deciphering fact from farce. We then give up and go back to work. No better, and no worse.

The unified communications (UC) industry suffers from this dilemma. In fact, the role of the UC professionals have evolved to include so many different responsibilities, the dilemma is arguably worse than most others.

Birth of the “Accidental UC Admin”

Although elements of UC can be traced back for decades, it wasn’t until recently the industry really started to gain momentum. This is where we believe the concept of the “accidental UC admin” comes into play. To out knowledge, the term was coined by our very own, Rob Hock, an industry thought-leader. Hock earned his stripes having spent years in the IT/Network trenches and has advanced his career to become Vyopta’s Director of Product Management.

UC Experts Speak Out

In an effort to hear from the experts, we surveyed 450+ professionals from a variety of business sizes in to find out more about the current state of UC and how it has evolved from their perspective. Along with a plethora of other details about the UC industry, we found copious amounts of front-line feedback that supports Hock’s theory of the “accidental UC admin” that we’ve placed in our recent 2016 White Paper: The State of Unified Communications. 

CTA - White Paper: 2016 Sate of Unified Communications

Although our white paper dives into multiple areas of the Unified Communications industry, here are a few survey questions that specifically supported Hock’s theory of the “accidental UC admin.”

Survey Question:

What’s your professional background?

BLOG: Chart for AV, network and IT background

We found 62% of survey respondents indicated they came from an IT background. Meanwhile, relatively few came into the UC world having an AV, Network, VoIP, or CUCM background, and even less have been working in UC since the start several decades ago.

Survey Question:

Was your move to Unified Communications by choice or by force?

Chart of UC responsibility routing Indeed, it does appear that employers have been thrusting UC responsibilities onto their employees overtime. 53% of survey respondents working in the UC industry have indicated that their employer was the reason they are now handling UC responsibilities. 

Survey Question:

How long have you worked in Unified Communications (UC)?

Unified communications employment timeline

The majority of survey respondents indicated they’ve been working in the UC industry for 3-4 years. Upon creating our “Evolution of Unified Communications Timeline” (included in the full list of survey results), we found 3-4 years of experience aligns perfectly with the moment in time where UC became fully integrated with the suite of communication options know today.

Survey Question:

The job of a UC Manager is huge. What responsibilities do you have?

BLOG: Unified Communications (UC) responsibilities chart Yet another data point towards the “accidental UC admin” is apparent when taking a look at the full spread of responsibilities. Survey respondents were invited to select as many options as they needed from a pre-populated list. However, when designing this question we strategically included responsibilities from IT, Network, AV, and VoIP/CUCM roles to help us clearly identify whether overlap was taking place. Coupling this data with the fact that 53% of respondents indicating that their employer had them take on UC responsibilities makes for a pretty solid argument for Hock’s theory. 

Top 58 Unified Communications Resources

Yes, we’re beginning to recognize UC professionals are “accidentally” falling into the industry. Yet, what is making them so successful despite not having anticipated working in this field? While we had their attention, we asked the experts to list their favorite resources that have helped them not only keep their heads above water – but succeed at what they do. Although “I just google things,” came up frequently, we specifically asked survey participants to recommend some of their favorite  blogs, communities, events and certifications.

Here are the top three in each category:

Top Blogs

  1. Cisco
  2. UCStrategies
  3. Wainhouse

Top Communities

  1. Cisco
  2. LinkedIn UC Group
  3. Microsoft

Top Conferences and Events

  1. Cisco Live – Global education and training sessions for IT professionals.
  2. Enterprise Connect – Expert-led conference program will discuss the latest systems, software, services and applications for enterprise communications and collaboration. The four-day conference is designed with one objective in mind: to help you maximize your investments in communications and collaboration systems, software and services.
  3. Infocomm – InfoComm International® is the trade association representing the professional audiovisual and information communications industries worldwide.

Top Certifications

  1. Cisco – Cisco offers an entire suite of certifications ranging from beginner to advanced. Naturally, since they are such a leader within the industry, their programs are globally recognized.  
  2. Microsoft’s Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) Certification – Globally recognized standard for IT professionals. Validate your expertise in creating a consistent communications experience for your organization and in connecting your colleagues to people around the world. Earning an MCSE: Communication certification will qualify you for a position in network and computer systems administration.
  3. Certified Healthcare Technology Specialist (CHTS) – As the nation moves toward industry-wide adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a shortage of about 50,000 qualified health IT workers to meet the needs of hospitals and healthcare affiliates. The Certified Healthcare Technology Specialist (CHTS) competency exams allow professionals and employers to capitalize on new technologies, procedures, and careers.

Thanks for reading!

In order to receive the complete list of recommended resources provided by our expert survey participants, snag our 2016 White Paper: State of Unified Communications.