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Unified comms market gathers pace

More education needed to convince enterprises of the merits of unified communications, research shows.

Unified comms market gathers pace
Education is needed to convince companies of the merits of unified communications, research shows.

The Middle East’s unified communications market is expected to be worth $235 million by 2014, with more than 50% of enterprises in the region planning to deploy UC systems within the next three years, according to research from Frost & Sullivan. 

The survey, commissioned by network communications company Avaya, was conducted in key markets across the Middle East and included responses from CIO's and IT professionals from various sectors.

But despite the value the market is expected to reach, the research also pointed to  significant confusion about UC, its cost and potential return on investment.

“The research reveals current awareness levels for UC solutions at more than 80%, while actual adoption of the technology was still in its early stages,” said Anand Rangachary, managing director, Frost & Sullivan South Asia & Middle East. “This clearly shows that there is significant need to educate enterprises about the integration of UC into their business processes and demonstrate the benefits UC applications.”

Rangachary added that although there is increasing interest in unified communication from enterprises in the region, adoption is taking place in phases. Companies are also concerned about return on investment from unified communication systems, as well as interoperability issues.

“Enterprises often need to be educated and convinced about ROI factors before taking the plunge and those that have already deployed UC and are currently seeking technology upgrades or expansions consider interoperability as a key deterrent.  End-users expect to see vendors map their business needs to UC applications," Rangachary added.

Almost 60% of companies surveyed reported that the economic downturn had no impact on their decision to deploy communication and collaboration tools. In addition, enterprises were optimistic about their IT budgets with 65% expecting their IT budgets to increase over the next two years.

The research also revealed that more than 59% of enterprises in the Middle East use some form of UC, with senior management in more than 30% of enterprises using video and web conferencing and presence information to conduct business. 

Currently, large enterprises contribute 52.3% of UC revenues, while 47.7% of revenues come from the SMB sector.



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