More than 75% of multinational companies in Europe are either evaluating or planning the roll-out of unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS), according to research released today.
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The study, carried out by Orange Business Services and Cisco, showed that while the numbers were small so far, with just 8.2% of respondents deploying the technology and 6.1% using it already, a significant 61.2% were in the evaluation process of signing up to unified communications as a managed service.
When asked what was most compelling about the solution, 59.2% of the IT decision-makers surveyed cited the ability to ramp up or down users as and when needed. The next best reason, cited by 55.1% of respondents, was the ability to change the cost model from capital expenditure – buying in the hardware – to operational expenditure.
Despite the new services such a model could offer, voice was still the most important function to the businesses looking at UCaaS, with over 65% listing IP telephony as their main priority. Web conferencing came in second place (63.2%), with voice and audio conferencing taking joint third, each cited by 61% of respondents.
However, mobile integration was surprisingly low down the list, with less than half of the decision-makers surveyed naming it as a top functionality.
Also, 57.1% would want their existing instant messaging services integrated into any solution they signed up to.
The vast majority of respondents (73.4%) believed that when the solution was in place, it would improve employee productivity, with 67.3% saying it would save costs.
Barriers to UCaaS adoption
The biggest challenge to adoption, cited by 49% of respondents, would be proving the cost benefits to the financial division of the company they worked for.
What was reassuring for UCaaS suppliers, however, was that the common trust issues associated with "as-a-service" offerings were not as significant. Just 12.2% cited security as a major challenge to adopting UCaaS, only 8.2% said lack of control would be a problem, and just 4.1% named privacy issues.
“UCaaS is a key consideration for the overwhelming majority of survey respondents… [with] flexibility, specifically the ability to ramp up and down as business changes, the most compelling aspect of a UCaaS offer for most people,” concluded the report. “While UCaaS might not be right for everyone, it seems that it is a good fit for the majority of companies.”