Cloud services will drive UC&C spending

IT leaders at both enterprises and small businesses expect to invest in unified communication and collaboration -- spending on both hosted and hybrid cloud adoption will significantly increase. (Download our exclusive research and view our infographic.)

Unified communication and collaboration (UC&C) adoption is poised to take off, according to new research from IDG Enterprise ( and IDG Enterprise are both owned by IDG Communications). In “2015 Unified Communications & Collaboration Survey,” 33 percent of the 653 IT leaders surveyed report that they plan to increase UC&C spending over the next 12 months by an average of 9 percent (only 3 percent plan to decrease spending). Enterprises currently spend an average of $8.1 million on UC&C products and services.

IT decision-makers credit the cloud with lifting their intentions. A whopping 71 percent said cloud computing has influenced their purchasing plans. About a third take it beyond influence and say cloud services made a significant impact.

Intentions aside, currently about half of survey (49 percent) respondents still use on-premises software exclusively. Surprisingly that hasn’t changed much since 2012 when, in a similar survey, 51 percent of IT decision-makers reported using only on-premises-based UC&C products exclusively today. While movement has been slow, the pace is set to pick up as only 18 percent of respondents expect their UC&C deployments will be completely on-premises in two years. Hybrid models will be the most common.

Today enterprises, defined as companies with 1,000 or more employees, are significantly more likely to be using on-premises UC&C software than small and midsized businesses (55 percent vs. 42 percent). Not surprisingly, given the fact that most don’t have legacy UC&C software to contend with, SMBs are far more likely to move to pure cloud-based UC&C services (20 percent vs. 7 percent). However, by 2017, enterprises will be twice as likely (15 percent) to move to a hosted service.

While more enterprises will move to a fully cloud-based approach, hybrid systems will be the most common option. Over the next two years, 54 percent of enterprises and 42 percent of SMBs will implement a hybrid UC&C model (compared to 30 percent and 27 percent today, respectively).

Why use UC&C?

As you might expect, improving employee collaboration is a top reason companies are investing in UC&C. While collaboration was cited by 43 percent of respondents, productivity was at its heels (42 percent). Increasing flexibility and accommodating a more mobile workforce is also a strong reason (33 percent) IT is willing to spend on UC&C.

For internal, employee-to-employee communication, email remains the preference (92 percent) followed by phone (88 percent) and in-person meetings (81 percent). Instant messaging, texting, screensharing, videoconference (both room-based systems and services such as Facetime, Skype and Google Hangouts) are also popular ranging in use from 67 percent to 33 percent.

This story, "Cloud services will drive UC&C spending" was originally published by CIO.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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