After surveying 277 enterprises, consultant Tom Nolle says legacy infrastructure has a profound effect on how enterprise technology managers think about what is possible with their voice infrastructure.

Asked what they would do with voice technology if you could start over, over 70 percent of businesses in the survey said that their unified communications investment plan was constrained based on their investment in legacy voice equipment, their “black phones” in particular.
If somehow all that gear was whisked away, they believed they’d very likely scrap phones completely and move to a PC-based form of communication based on headsets.
The other 30 percent said that they needed to have their mobile workers tied into their UC, and because they couldn’t get mobile VoIP they would “wait” until mobile technology caught up. The service model they like best? It’s Skype, but the way Skype works now isn’t how they’d want their future UC platform to work, says Nolle.
In terms of truly incremental features, businesses wanted the UC features that are today available from third-party firms using Skype extensions built in and made part of the standard package. That included the ability to send files via IM as attachments, to support conference calling in both voice and video (one-to-many and pass-the-baton mediation should control who is seen). Whiteboard capability wasn’t as interesting as desktop sharing. Call logging was viewed as important, particularly logging of video calls, and IM logging was needed both as a general compliance tool and to trace file exchanges for security purposes.
The survey results should prove worrisome for some in the UC space, positive for others. Though I’m not so sure Nolle would draw the same conclusions, it does appear that many enterprises would just as soon be done with desk phones and phone systems, and use feature-enhanced software like Skype.

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