There is good news on that front. On a couple of fronts, actually. The first is that the ROI is moving front and center for unified communications. The second piece is that the story that is told is a good one from the perspective of vendors and other proponents.
I just finished a story for IT Business Edge that looked at the progress being made in the all-inclusive telepresence/videoconferencing sector. Bill Coe, CDW's business development manager for CDW, got straight to the point: If he can tell a CFO that adding video to the mix will reduce a product's time to market by something like six weeks, the gains — combined with the advantages that the video platform would provide elsewhere going forward — often are enough to convince the exec to pull the trigger. Conferencing platforms, he and others say, increasingly are incorporated in unified communications packages.
So, ROI is becoming a more measurable commodity, and the results that are being generated are good.
Last week, ABI Research issued a study that predicts that the premises-based integrated unified communications market will reach $2.3 billion by 2016. The category enjoyed 22 percent year-on-year growth in 2010 to finish the year with a value of $674.4 million. That's good. For this post, this is the key sentence, however:
Though interoperability, network performance and UC security continue to cause concerns, the demonstrable ROI and newer UC implementation options that can radically reduce IT sprawl are spurring adoption.
Unified communications — and its constituent elements, such as VoIP and videoconferencing — always seemed like a good idea. The big difference is that the industry is reaching a point at which it can actually prove it.
Here, by the way, is an excellent take on a common-sense definition of unified communications, all the way from South Africa.