One-third of Irish firms have rolled out unified comms

3 Jun 2011

Only 36pc of organisations in Ireland have implemented unified communications. A ShoreTel survey of 300 IT decision makers found that of those who have deployed UC, improved productivity and flexibility were highlighted.

While the number of organisations who have currently implemented a UC solution still remain relatively low at 36pc, it appears that this will increase significantly over the coming years.

The ShoreTel survey found that more than half of the respondents (54pc) said they plan to integrate their PBX and data networks, enabling an ideal platform for UC implementation.

For those organisations who have implemented a UC solution, 25pc highlighted savings as the key deciding factor.

UC tools help to reduce costs company-wide by streamlining business processes, putting critical information within reach and having a positive impact on productivity. Through efficiencies such as videoconferencing, it can help secure significant savings in reduced travel for business meetings.

Improved productivity (19pc) and increased flexibility (16pc) were also highlighted by those who have already adopted UC.

The collaborative workplace

The technology enables employees to work and collaborate from anywhere, using multiple devices. UC provides the same communications capabilities across different devices and locations.

The ability for people to communicate and collaborate from anywhere enables staff to work remotely and avoids the loss of productivity when outside the office.

By far the most noteworthy reason why organisations in Ireland have not implemented a UC solution is that there is “no pressing demand for it within the organisation” (55pc).

This finding is somewhat surprising, given that most Irish organisations currently face the same challenges of reducing costs and increasing productivity.

Organisations under pressure to keep costs down

“It is reassuring to see the results in Ireland are broadly in line with our UK and European counterparts,” said Barry Dillon, regional sales director, ShoreTel.

“Looking at the responses we can see there is still a lot of education needed in terms of the business benefits and long-term cost savings of unified communications.

“All organisations are under pressure to keep costs down and there is a very strong economic argument for implementing UC, as it leverages existing investments, exploits economies of scale, and streamlines administration and management.

“Only 36pc of companies in the survey are already using UC technology.

“This is a surprisingly low figure, considering we are talking about a technology that is 15 years old. However, with more than half of organisations planning to integrate their voice and data, surely UC is the most effective platform for this.”

UC needs to be driven by a change in business culture, said Michael O’Hara of DataSolutions, ShoreTel’s distributor in Ireland.

“Given the current trend towards mobile working, the flexibility and increase in functionality offered by UC represent the future.

“Companies that ignore the new ways of working are likely to find it harder to adapt to a changing business world.

“The benefit of UC is that an organisation can improve efficiency and flexibility, ultimately leading to better service delivery and increased savings.”

Photo: Barry Dillon, regional sales director, ShoreTel

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years