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Unified communications and collaboration set for automation surge in hybrid world

Research reveals hybrid working world unified communications and collaboration now seen as improving productivity, but challenge exists for organisations managing UCC at scale to provision users across multiple apps and communications platforms

Research has revealed that business automation could be set for a huge surge in the unified communications and collaboration (UCC) space, with rapidly increasing costs and lost time leading many organisations to reassess MACDs (moves, adds, changes, deletes) processes, related to onboarding and offboarding of employees.

In addition, the study from Kurmi Software and Pulse Research, UCC management impact report: The true cost of unified communications and collaboration, found that increased UCC consumption as a result of hybrid working means that IT decision-maker respondents are now in the process of evaluating time and cost efficiency, as current UCC is largely unautomated, time-consuming and expensive. 

The study surveyed 100 decision-makers in either an IT administration or UCC team management role between 15 October and 13 December 2021 to understand the true business cost of coping with the dramatic increase in the use of UC platforms and business collaboration tools.

The report showed day-to-day tactical management and provisioning of UC platforms and collaboration tools often sits with highly skilled professionals or overburdened IT admin teams who aren’t able to dedicate their time to higher profile projects and system maintenance.

With this in mind, organisations consider cost savings (78%) and time savings (64%) to be among the main priorities when it comes to evaluating UC teams and processes. But it is UCC tasks for MACDs which were considered most resource intensive, with 73% of respondents spending as much as half of their time each week on end-user MACDs.

MACDs cover provisioning activities which essentially cover the onboarding or offboarding of employees, and 90% of survey respondents estimated the value of time spent managing MACDs across their UC platforms to be between $100,000 and $500,000 every year.

In addition, the most cited challenges to solve in UCC management for organisations are consecutively considered to be: the ease of being defrauded from the outside; backlogs in support requests; and a lack of governance, policies or rules. 

The survey found that 83% of respondents need more than 30 minutes to manually onboard every new user onto their organisation’s UCC platform, and the vast majority of these reported seeing errors in more than a third of all records. Automating these processes provides a central point of control over an entire UC environment, making tasks faster and more repeatable so specialist administration teams have more time to add value elsewhere.

As many as 84% of respondents believe that more comprehensive automation of MACD would enable them to keep pace with the growing volume of end-users and frequency of user flux within their organisations. And with just 5% of organisations describing themselves as automated today, the 99% of decision-makers either already having a plan in place to automate these processes within the next 12 months, or already doing so, represents something of a sea change for the UCC space.

The shift towards hybrid working, combined with the convergence of UC and business collaboration apps, means that UCC is now seen as a platform that fundamentally improves productivity. As our impact report has found, however, the challenge for organisations managing this at scale is that provisioning users across multiple apps and communications platforms is both costly and labour intensive,” said Pascal Moindrot, COO at Kurmi Software.

“In particular, completing MACDs – a core responsibility of UCC teams – is an arduous process which is currently consuming up to 50% of their time each week. There is clear consensus that automation provides a solution, but with only 5% describing their MACD process as automated today, we expect this number to change significantly as organisations seek to keep pace with growing user flux.”

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