UC: Potentially lucrative, definitely needed, but still currently untapped

Research conducted by MDS has found that 75% of IT and telecoms decision-makers are looking to move towards a Unified Communications (UC) infrastructure in the next 12 months; good news for operators looking for additional revenue streams from the business segment.

At the same time, 61% of the sample admits they’re uncertain of the value that UC will bring to their business – suggesting that more needs to be done by operators to validate businesses’ decisions to adopt it and make propositions as clear and attractive as possible.

What is promising for operators, though, is that 93% of respondents believed that IT and communications services received through the same provider are seen to be ‘of value’. Again, though, this is a double-edged sword, with 57% believing this increasing convergence makes it more difficult to review their telecoms infrastructure.

There is an obvious disconnect in terms of what decision-makers believe UC can bring to their business, but whether it’s a justifiable expenditure.

Another obvious disconnect is demonstrable, regarding what operators are telling businesses about UC. Operators are clearly missing a trick in terms of communicating value to their customers, and must adapt their sales and marketing and delivery to provide a more transparent and integrated proposition for enterprises.

A study by The Radicati Group in 2011 found that the value of the UC market is expected to reach $7.7 billion in 2015, almost doubling from a value of $4 billion in 2011. With the UC market demonstrating a potentially lucrative revenue-generating opportunity, operators can’t let the market to pass them by when they are in a unique position to serve it with a combination of IT and communications offerings.

What has been previously unknown to the market is the scope of the opportunity for operators, and more precisely, exactly what needs to be done to validate the business case for moving to UC. Clearly businesses, especially SMEs, are keen to receive IT and communications services under a single umbrella offering, but operators in some cases are failing to deliver a compelling and clear proposition for an integrated customer experience.

Cutting through the noise, operators cannot afford to let the UC opportunity slip by – the market is indicating the need for simple yet effective UC solutions, and operators must deliver them to cash in from what is a position of strength.

Operators must look to provide clear propositions that highlight the benefits of UC. With continued changes in the market driven by cloud and consumptive business models, communications and IT services are being pushed ever-closer together, providing a great opportunity to offer bundled UC packages that will be attractive to the enterprise segment.

Operators must better educate the enterprise market if they are to unify services under a single package and deliver the services that businesses clearly have the appetite for.

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