Three trends are significantly affecting the way people and businesses communicate:
In a recent survey, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise collected primary research among 1,000 members of its international customer base and 300 of its channel partners to identify the main challenges and opportunities for enterprises which have been created by these developments in technology and behavior.
The infographic offers some key findings illustrating the different priorities of end-users and network managers.
Called out here are four of the top findings concerned the following topics:
Further findings explored in more depth:
Divided Perspectives? The disconnect between the IT enablers and their users
What the research confirms is that while user experience is a concern for both the network end-user and the IT departments that implement and manage those networks, end-users are primarily interested in connectivity, from anywhere, on any device and with a consistent user experience, but IT departments are more concerned with operational simplification, security and integration.
It comes as no great surprise to discover this, and of course the answer is to provide businesses with technology that helps them to meet their needs, while simultaneously offering users the experience they have now come to expect.
Budget consistently ranked as a top concern across all businesses
Whether CAPEX/OPEX/TCO or as the simplification of operations, budget is a key factor affecting IT decision-making. As the infographic shows, 71% of respondents cited TCO as the main criteria when selecting both data center and unified network vendors.
Of course it is understandable that IT departments rate issues such as security and TCO very highly, and these are priorities that can be easily justified, but some IT managers are having difficulty making the business case to management to move forward with unifying networks and supporting user interests.
Video leads the field in must-haves for the enterprise
Enterprises believe that to be successful they need to provide users with a multimedia (66%) multi-party (69.3%), multi-device (73.6%) and real-time collaboration experience (78.5%). The importance of video capability is confirmed in the research, which shows that 86% of enterprises already offer, or are planning to offer video conferencing to desktop and mobile devices and is one of the top new technologies that enterprises want.
Video and video conferencing is becoming a much more central part of enterprise practices but requires consistent network performance to deliver a high quality experience – audio/video quality was rated as either very or extremely important by 85% of participants.
Avoiding Shadow IT
BYOD is a top priority for 75% of IT professionals, and by bringing employees' communication tools and personal devices back within the control of IT departments through a unified access network, the enterprise can guard against the rise of 'shadow IT', which is self-provisioning and operating outside their reach. At the same time an intelligent, automated and dynamic network management system can control and direct traffic from fixed and mobile devices, offering the end user the connectivity and high-quality experience that they expect.
Cloud provides new possibilities, but over 50% need help moving over
Advancements in the cloud and hosted services have opened new possibilities to deliver unified communications and collaboration tools as well as satisfy budgetary concerns. By supporting businesses to shift to the cloud and providing modern, unified communications via UCaaS models, it is possible to offer an affordable, scalable solution that is flexible enough to adapt to business requirements, while dramatically reducing up-front costs.
But 56% of our participants recognized that they need help moving to the cloud to take advantage of these technological developments.
Open architecture and standardized technology are addressing integration concerns
Integration is rated as one of the key concerns across many of the challenges facing enterprises today. Half of those surveyed believe that deploying new technology is the key to differentiating or expanding their business, but the ability to simplify integration was identified by 60% as a top business driver for enterprises.
Simplified integration is being driven by the shift to open standards in technology, which increases interoperability and enhances IT flexibility. When being offered solutions based on open standards, businesses are in a position to select what suits their needs, rather than being stuck with one vendor due to closed protocols and proprietary technologies.
For a full copy of the results from the study, download the white paper here.