Unified Communications benefits threatened by skills gap

Questions as to whether there is a sufficiently trained workforce to facilitate a UC boom

More multi-skilled workers are needed in order to ensure the benefits of unified communications (UC) are realised according to a survey by Psytechnics, a provider of voice and video performance management solutions for IT operations.

The survey of 100 network and applications professionals found that even though as enterprises expand their rollout of VoIP, and ultimately UC to embrace the cost savings and manageability of converged IP-based communications, there are questions as to whether there is a sufficient workforce to facilitate the boom.

Nearly three quarters believe that UC requires an IT operations workforce that is knowledgeable in both networks and voice and video applications. However, 60% of UC specialists do not believe that there are enough skilled technical staff to deal with the expected demand in UC deployments.

Just over a quarter of the survey (26%) was split as to whether technical expertise in networks or applications is more relevant.

Psytechnics says that the survey confirms what many in enterprises and Managed Service Providers have been saying behind the scenes: namely that IP-based converged services including VoIP and UC are more difficult to get right in practice than previously thought.

Commenting on the results Psytechnics CEO Anthony Finbow said, “The results of our survey should act as a wake-up call for those in the industry and enterprises who are relying more and more on IP-based communications. Many have found VoIP performance management to be more difficult than expected, but voice is just the tip of the iceberg and with more applications like video conferencing coming into play towards a full UC rollout, it is vitally important that the quality of the user experience is managed.  Employing the right experience management tools will help to offset staff costs and skills shortages, but it’s up to the communications industry to ensure enterprises are fully equipped to reliably operate what will be a multi vendor unified communications environment.”

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