Europe's large enterprise and small-medium enterprises (SMEs) see the dilemmas and challenges of unified communications rather differently, according to a recent advisory report from Current Analysis, based on surveys and analysis of the European market.
The report's authors - Rob Arnold, senior analyst for enterprise communications, and Dustin Kehoe, principal analyst for telecom services in Central Europe - discuss the different levels of awareness, how buying decisions are made, deployment types, vendor selection, and make some recommendations to unified communications users and potential users.
More or less aware
First, the large enterprise and SME have substantially different levels of awareness about unified communications. Not surprisingly, most large enterprises are not only aware of unified communications but nearly all have plans to deploy it, according to a 2007 EVUA survey. According to the report "while nearly 30 percent of SMEs [across Europe] are deploying unified communications in some form, another 30 percent have no plans at all (or have not even heard of the term unified communications before). They are often confused between unified messaging and unified communications and tend to take them to mean similar things."
When making a buying decision, large enterprises "tend to see unified communications as a 'strategic' move towards developing new workflow patterns, improving business processes, increasing collaboration through virtual teams and reducing human latency times through applications such as IM and presence." However, "SMEs are more tactical in their approach ... [they] tend to focus less on the long-term roadmap than they do on bottom line price and cost-savings ... [and are] driven by short-term gains."