Springboard: Unified communications faces hurdles in Asia

Computerworld Hong Kong Staff
26 Mar 2009

The unified Communications market in Asia Pacific is still in the very early stages of development and faces many challenges, said Springboard Research Wednesday. The latest research findings announced today by Springboard Research revealed that

Announcing findings from its latest report titled "Unified Communications in Asia Pacific: Key Trends and Market Insights', Springboard pointed out that few organizations are aware of unified communications solutions or how their disparate communications tools or systems can be synchronized.

According to the research firm, Unified Communications (UC) refers to the integration of disparate communications systems (wired and wireless telephone systems), devices (PC and phones) and applications (email, instant messaging, and calendar applications, as well as audio, video, and web conferencing).

These systems, devices, and applications are all integrated on a single platform accessible through a single phone number or Internet address, and not limited to a communication device or tool, said Springboard. The report's findings are based on a survey of 469 CIOs, IT managers and business managers at over 400 large and SMB enterprises in Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore, the firm added.

"There is a definite disparity in the value of Unified Communications as perceived by different organizations," said Ravi Shekhar Pandey, research manager at Springboard Research. "In large enterprises, the IT departments view unified communications as an evolution in convergence that organizations must adopt, while SMBs are more concerned about improving communications and finding solutions to their business problems, and therefore are paying less attention to unified communications.'

China leads in UC adoption

Springboard said that 21 percent of survey participants have deployed unified communications solutions and companies with more than 500 employees are the leading adopters.

China leads the region in adoption with 35 percent of Chinese respondents affirming to having deployed UC. Springboard's findings also indicated that organizations in Australia and India are more likely to deploy UC over the next 12 months than anywhere else in the region.

"A significant number of companies are planning to purchase VoIP solutions over the next 12 months. This, we believe, will accelerate adoption in the region as VoIP is an important aspect of unified communications and once a VoIP system is in place, organizations will be more inclined to unify communication in their organization," Pandey said.

The report also brings to light low user satisfaction with UC, with only 13 percent of survey respondents using related products terming their experience "Ëœvery satisfying'. A high percentage of respondents are "Ëœsomewhat satisfied'.

Advising vendors to invest in market education and awareness-building, Springboard also reported that many businesses confuse unified communications with unified messaging and have little understanding of the former's benefits. "Vendors would be well-served by taking an incremental and pragmatic approach to unified communications sales in the region rather than pushing grandiose visions that will be harder to sell, and perhaps even more difficult to secure high satisfaction post-sale," Pandey added.

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