NextPlane Blog

Why has Unified Communications failed so many companies?

Jul 14, 2016 5:46:49 PM


Less than half of organizations believe their UC efforts are successful.

That’s according to Nemertes’ 2015-16 Unified Communications and Collaboration Benchmark report, which revealed only 43% of organizations believe they had success with UC last year. In the previous report, 61% of respondents said they were pleased with their UC efforts.

That’s quite the drop for one year. So what gives?

One word:  Adoption.

It turns out a majority of respondents were disappointed with their employees’ lack of UC adoption. They also didn’t like the fact that it’s hard to measure the benefits of business messaging services in a thoroughly tangible manner.

Let’s unpack the above. First off, we need to ask ourselves why employees aren’t adopting their UC platforms. There are a number of good reasons:

  • Implementing UC takes time and money away from IT teams. Since UC platforms lack built-in federation functionality, IT invention is required to establish communication channels across organizations. Because IT resources are spread thin in the first place, organizations can’t really afford to invest a ton of their IT team’s time to establish federation. This causes users to abandon their UC platforms in favor of other easier options. In most cases, there is rampant use of third-party communication tools—like WhatsApp, text messaging, Skype and Google Hangouts—to aid real-time external collaboration. Moreover, content collaboration offerings such as Dropbox and Box are used frequently to bypass email attachment file size limits. Altogether, this scenario creates an influx of tools with varying levels of security vulnerabilities.
  • Employees are resistant to using more than 1 or 2 applications. Employees often do a majority of their work within a single app. For example, sales managers live inside their CRM apps. They don’t want to have to toggle back and forth between their UC platform, CRM app, and email. This problem is amplified when folks are working on mobile devices. If toggling between apps on a desktop is annoying, switching between them on mobile is excruciating. Quite simply, UC platforms don’t integrate with business applications.

So what can you do? To overcome these problems, businesses need to think entirely differently. Companies want services that enable workers to communicate with end users inside and outside their organizations. They also want these services to require little to no support from IT. Finally, they need services that enable employees to access all of their critical business information (e.g., contacts, messages, documents, images, and other files) from one central location.

Once you know what kind of communications and collaboration service you need, it’s time to start thinking about how to measure the effectiveness of messaging services. To do that, you need to think about UC platforms in real terms…

If your organization has implemented a UC service and you aren’t sure how to measure ROI, consider looking at the following:

  • How productive are your teams as a whole? Team members all have different schedules. Yet they’re expected to work together. Give them the platforms they need to collaborate easily—both in real time and non-real time (e.g., offline messages and file sharing in chat sessions). That way, teams are able to move projects forward as quickly as possible without dropping the ball on other commitments.
  • How productive is your IT? Your IT team has its hands full, to say the least. IT shouldn’t have to waste time managing federations or constantly testing and rolling out desktop UC clients. They need cloud-based services that are turnkey with web-based and mobile clients. That way, they can invest their resources in more pressing matters.
  • How productive is your line of business? Chances are a lot of your end users work with contractors, freelancers, and consultants on a regular basis. Business messaging services need to allow your end users to communicate with all of their colleagues—both inside and outside the organization—in real time. This will enable them to build productive relationships with their external business partners, right from the start.

Businesses need to move beyond the UC platforms of yesterday. They need to turn to open messaging services—those that allow end users to connect with internal and external business partners, regardless of their underlying UC platforms.

That’s the ticket to increased productivity—and a truly measurable ROI.



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Topics: UC Federation, Collaboration, Unified Communications Challenges