What better place to inquire about Skype for Business and Unified Communications than at a Microsoft conference filled with both Microsoft end-users as well as IT professionals? In addition to launching our new SOF services, as well as some new solutions in our PowerSuite™ software such as the Call Explorer, Unify Square also leveraged the Microsoft Ignite conference in late September 2016 to conduct a survey with respondents from mid-sized and large organizations who either used or administered some sort of UC system and the results were quite illuminating. Although the conference was predominantly focused on Microsoft technologies and customers, over one-third of the UC survey respondents listed a non-Microsoft UC system as primary, so the findings truly reflect a broad cross-section of the industry.
So what do these IT experts and end users have to say about the state of UC Systems adoption?
First a couple key statistics from the survey results regarding the current state of cloud vs on-prem and Skype for Business platform adoption:
- Almost half of those surveyed say UC deployments are still 100% on-prem (48%), while 17% are using 100% cloud deployments and 33% are using hybrid UC deployments.
- 28% of those surveyed are still using the ‘legacy’ Lync platform.
The key take-aways from the survey may seem like “old news” to some who regularly swim in the UC pond. However, what is particularly ‘new’ and illuminating about the truths of this survey is the fact that the portion of the IT department administering UC seems to be standing in their own way of UC success. The findings show that IT clearly understands the importance of user adoption programs and identify UC system monitoring as imperative to success. And yet, 70% of users have never been polled by IT regarding their satisfaction with UC. Couple this ‘disconnect’ with end-users with the fact that a very small percentage of IT respondents have deployed software or services to help with system monitoring and the stumbling blocks are readily apparent.
Without ruining the impact of a good in-depth read of the entire survey report, here are a couple of the other key highlights for you to sink your teeth into before downloading the full report:
- ‘The Cloud Don’t Matter’: All of the findings in the report are just as relevant for on-prem deployments of UC systems as they are for cloud deployments. The truth about UC in the cloud is that the cloud is not a panacea, and user adoption issues continue to be just as relevant and important.
- ROI secret sauce: UC ROI hinges on IT’s ability to receive and act upon key telemetry from the UC system. The survey identified the inability to effectively monitor system quality as one of the top IT challenges. In spite of this, as noted above, not only are a small percentage of IT departments choosing not to invest in monitoring software, but they also show a surprise affinity to “go-it-alone” without a professional or managed services partner.
- Fight or Flight: Instead of turning to the IT Help Desk to troubleshoot a UC issue, users first try to fix it themselves, next turn to an alternative non-UC form of communication (ie their smartphones) and then just decide to ignore the issue altogether. All it takes is a few of these bad user experiences to create a groundswell of movement away from the UC system altogether.
- Training…what Training?: Over half of end-users (52%) claim their organization either does not offer UC training or that they’re not aware of any. This view is in stark contrast to the IT view offered by 80% of the respondents that some form of online video, reference material, online tutorial or instructor-led training exists for end-users. Better awareness about these training programs could result in greater adoption and end-user productivity.
At the end of the day visibility is key for IT. Increased visibility (telemetry and user satisfaction ratings) into how end-users are using the UC functionally could result in even greater usage, higher user satisfaction and improved UC productivity successes.