Hosted UC&C Apps: Stuck at Web Conferencing and Messaging?


Beyond Web conferencing and messaging, most organizations have no plans for hosted unified communications and collaboration applications. The vast majority of organizations have no plans for hosted IPT, contact center, telepresence and video conferencing, according to Nemertes' 2010-11 benchmark of 225 IT professionals.

Of all hosted services, Web conferencing shows the greatest adoption. More than 66% of organizations are using or planning to use hosted Web conferencing. The next highest adoption rate is hosted messaging for 22.9% of organizations with another 21% evaluating. Then, adoption falls dramatically with only 15.4% using or planning to use hosted video conferencing; 8.2% using hosted IPT; 8% using or planning to use hosted telepresence; and, 7.9% of organizations using or planning to use hosted contact centers.

The most-often mentioned solutions for Web conferencing are CiscoWebEx and Citrix GoToMeeting. However, it is quite common for organizations to use multiple platforms: “We use three different platforms and will narrow to one this year,” says the director of IT at a large retail organization. With nearly 70% of organizations using or evaluating hosted Web conferencing adoption is widespread, approaching ubiquitous. But even hosted web conferencing is threatened by on-premise solutions. For example, many of those who are implementing Microsoft Office Communications Server (now Lync) tell us they justify their deployments by saving money on hosted web conferencing services. Once web conferencing is “free,” usage shoots up as well. In some cases organizations are starting to evaluate a hybrid model, using in-house and hosted--whichever is most cost effective.

Another big area for hosted applications is messaging. There are nearly as many organizations evaluating (21%) hosted messaging services as there are companies using or planning to use (22.9%) the technology. Outsourcing messaging – particularly as part of an office suite – raises significant security concerns among participants: Security and compliance concerns are the number one reason for not adopting SaaS Office for nearly one quarter of organizations. Another key concern is integration with other UC&C applications. Implementing a hosted messaging service that lacks integration with voice, unified messaging, instant messaging, or social tools limits the success of the hosted service deployment.

Participants are mixed on the value of hosted IPT. Nearly 80% have no plans for hosted IPT over the coming three years. Cost is one clear reason for avoidance.

“We looked at it and found it was way too expensive,” says the VP at a large financial-services firm. For organizations implementing hosted IPT, it is often “for just small offices,” says the VP at a midsize professional-services firm.

The key take away is to closely evaluate pricing when looking at hosted IPT.

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Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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