Unified Communications: Click to talk

Nov 27 2009   4:16AM GMT

Gartner Questions Strategic Relevance of Unified Communications

Tony Bradley Tony Bradley Profile: Tony Bradley

Unified communications has been one of a small handful of dominant IT technologies–or at least buzz words–for the past couple of years, but analysts debate whether it is still worthy of so much attention.

Gartner senior analyst Nick Jones told an audience at the Gartner Symposium in Sydney that unified communications has lost its luster and that the technology did not even make Gartner’s Top 10 list for strategic priorities for CIO’s and IT managers.

That opinion was countered by Frost & Sullivan ICT research director Audrey William who explained that unified communications is still evolving and organizations are still struggling to define and understand the strategic benefits of unified communications, but the technology is nevertheless still important.

The fluid nature of the industry and the rapidly changing landscape with new players and new technologies being introduced while existing entities converge through various mergers and acquisitions complicates the decision process for customers.

Another factor that makes organizations reluctant to jump too quickly is that unified communications affects a broad range of hardware and software, as well as busines processes. A hasty decision could be costly so customers are taking their time to understand what they’re getting into while also waiting for the dust to settle in the industry.

That approach has merit, but that dust is also clearing. Williams said “The market now only consists of a hand-full of vendors, so it’s even more important to understand the roadmap of some of these vendors and what role they will play during the next three to five years, because ultimately companies will be using one of these vendors’ solutions.”

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