With cloud and mobility expected to affect many spheres of enterprise technology, unified communications is one area certain to feel both forces in 2014. The market is evolving and the communications needs of today’s professionals warrant more seamless, scalable solutions. As you plan your unified communications strategy for 2014 and beyond, consider these anticipated trends to ensure you are providing the best solutions for your organisation’s needs.
The rise of Microsoft Lync
Frost & Sullivan rank Microsoft Lync as No.1 in their list of seven disruptive trends for enterprise communications in 2014. Still considered a new kid on the block in the realm of unified communications in 2013, Lync is being consumed by organisations already using SharePoint, Active Directory and Microsoft e-mail. In 2014, more and more of these organisations will migrate to Lync for voice, messaging, presence and collaboration. Audrey William, head of research, ICT Practice, Frost & Sullivan Australia & New Zealand, said that Lync 2013 offers close to 95 per cent PBX functionality. For those who want to procure Lync 2013 and get it up and running quickly, Datacom offers a pre-configured Lync-in-a-box product that can be installed and managed internally, managed by us or managed from the cloud.
Unified Communications as a Service
Another unified communications trend on Frost & Sullivan’s list is Unified Communications as a Service, or UCaaS. Unified Communications as a Service is what it sounds like — communications and collaboration services managed by a third-party provider and delivered over an IP network. This approach can lower both capital and operational expenditures for organisations in addition to offering greater levels of availability and scalability. Frost & Sullivan believe more organisations will take advantage of Unified Communications as a Service in 2014 as they approach end of lifecycle for legacy unified communications technologies, leading them to consider a hosted or cloud-based option for solutions such as videoconferencing. Similarly, Gartner has predicted that the shortening product lifecycles for enterprise platforms and decreased interoperability between platforms will encourage a shift to a cloud or hosted model.
Collaboration across systems
Employees will continue to want to use unified communications tools on their mobile devices as they did in 2012 and 2013, but there will also be a rise in collaboration tools in CRM and content management systems. Why the need if you have an overarching collaboration tool in your business? Because tools matched to specific software systems allow users to collaborate when they need to in the space in which they are working. This trend will mean big things for data management and intelligence as information from a wider range of sources can be harnessed and inputted.