Research: How UK enterprise communications will change in 2016

Azzurri Communications declares 2016 the ‘year of change’ for collaboration, telephony and mobility as investments grow and patience is lost with inflexibility and empty spend.

  • 93% of enterprises have already deployed at least one collaboration tool – 29% have deployed four or more - and 41% are intending to invest in yet more tools in 2016
  • Traditional and IP PBX still dominant in enterprises (62%), but 48% of enterprises plan to change telephony set-up in 2016, and move to UC
  • A massive surge in cloud-based UC is anticipated in 2016 (rising from 6% of all UC deployments in 2015, to 28% next year)
  • BYOD’s share of enterprise mobility models to drop from 33% to 12%

16th December 2015: Azzurri Communications, the managed communications provider, has identified how 2016 will be a transformative year for enterprise communications, specifically in mobility models, telephony set-ups and reliance on collaboration tools.

Working with independent market research agency, Redshift Research, Azzurri investigated how enterprises are planning to change their communications set-up in 2016. Azzurri examined the views of enterprises from a survey of 150 IT decision-makers in the UK – most of whom were from the C-suite – and also surveyed 1,000 employees who spent more than 50% of their working hours in offices.

Collaboration

As of the end of 2015, almost all enterprises have deployed at least one collaboration tool (93%) and most (69%) have deployed more than one and 29% have deployed four or more.

This prevalence is likely to grow yet further as 41% of enterprises are planning to increase their investment in collaboration tools in 2016, with every single category of collaboration tool seeing an overall boost in deployment. Specifically, phone-based conferencing services, enterprise social networking and presence and IM tools are due to enjoy the greatest rise.

“The anticipated growth in collaboration tools is a reflection of the trend for the enterprise’s need to collaborate beyond the four walls of the business itself,” concluded Grig. “More and more enterprises are seeking out the tools with which to bring together not only employees, but also partners and customers, regardless of geography, to speed up business and become more agile.”

Telephony.

The corporate status quo is predominantly either IP or traditional PBX (62%), with Unified Communications (UC) slowly gaining ground - on-site deployment being the current status quo (21%).

However, 48% of enterprise IT departments are seeing 2016 as the year in which to change their telephony set-ups, and to move to UC. This is driven by high maintenance costs (55%) and frustrating inflexibility (55%). As a case in point, of those currently using traditional PBX telephony, only a third will continue to do so in 2016.

But 2016 is not only the year for UC – it is also the year for cloud. On-site UC deployments will drop by more than third in the next 12 months, while cloud-based UC deployments will soar from 6% of all UC to 28%.

“The preference for cloud deployment of UC mirrors exactly the initial motivations for telephony change – a requirement for greater flexibility and reduced costs,” comments Grig. “But in addition, it shows that while the cloud-based option hasn’t been widely available up until now, it is very much in demand now that it is. Clearly, cloud-based UC’s time has come.”

Mobility.

BYOD currently accounts for 33% of UK enterprises’ mobility models, with the remainder using company-provided devices for either solely business use (31%) or both business and personal use (36%).

However, almost 40% of enterprises are planning to change their set-up, mainly triggered by cost (63%), the inflexibility of the model (50%) or the drain on IT resource time (44%).

Only 12% of enterprises will continue with BYOD in 2016, mirroring the preferences of employees (only 16% stated they would prefer a BYOD model). The intended split between providing corporate devices for only business use versus for business and personal use is roughly even (43% and 45% respectively), while there is a 10% bias amongst employees in favour of business-use-only corporate devices.

“It is clear that there is very little support from employees for BYOD, and not much more from CIOs,” comments Rufus Grig, CTO of Azzurri Communications. “In three years it has gone from ‘next big thing’ to a minority pre-occupation, with both employees and business preferring company-provided devices. We suspect that among the many reasons for this, employees wanting to focus on work-life balance and increasing allegiance to specific smartphone brands coupled with enterprise CIOs’ frustrations with the drain on their IT team’s time and the cost of supporting multiple platforms means that BYOD will become a marginal operating model for mobile devices in the enterprise.”

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