The following is a recap of a Unified Communications (UC) survey of over 1,000 ALU customers, taken directly from a post written by Xavier Martin.
UC is not what You See
In a recent survey conducted by Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, we asked prospective and existing customers what were the main criteria when considering selecting a UC solution for their organization.
I’d have expected answers centered on sophisticated multimedia capabilities, support of mobile devices and collaboration features. The reality is, none of them came up in the top three.
The two most frequently given answers were: audio and video quality, and support of critical communications with five-nine reliability. Miles away from the expected ones, but definitely worth consideration as the panel of respondents exceeded 1,000 individuals, from all geographies and from companies of all sizes – from small to extra-large.
Unified Communications are Integrated
What does it tell us? First, it shows that Unified Communications are now fully considered as an extension of IP Telephony and no longer as a separate layer which needs to be integrated with any PBX.
Users’ Discuss Quality of Communication
Secondly, it also indicates that some people may suffer from a poor experience with regards to the quality of the communications. Real-time communications can’t be treated as just any office application. Anyone can accept a 1-second delay in a calc or word-processing application — but 1/10th of the same delay during real-time communication would lead to a disaster from a user experience perspective. Like it or not, Personal Computers are not yet at the level of desk phones as far as voice quality and reliability are concerned. No intent to finger-point at anyone here, but I will take an opportunity to re-iterate the need and importance for dedicated and tailored devices for communications.
Challenges of Implementing UC
With regards to the challenges organizations face when it comes to implementing UC, the first commonly reported one is the difficulty to integrate with existing applications and services. The multiplication of servers, not yet fully virtualized and each dedicated to a specific function or application, has made the integration even more complex, especially with business applications. And the integration maze augments as organizations want to add multimedia capabilities, leading to an interesting IT dance to make APIs, Codecs and other proprietary components work together. This underlying complexity contributes to a divide between IT and users, leading the latter to shortcut IT processes, bringing their own devices and apps to create their own personal cloud — a collection of one purpose applications which when summed up is providing them with a panel of features, no matter they are not “unified” under IT’s definition.
But the good thing here is that UC begins with a reliable and secure communications infrastructure before anything else, putting the lights back on the invisible part of the UC iceberg.
UC is not only what you see.