1. Market Research

The Future of Enterprise Communications in the Workplace in North America : An End-user Perspective

  • February 2015
  • 96 pages
  • Frost & Sullivan
Report ID: 2672051


Table of Contents

Research Objectives

The overall research objective is to measure the current use of and future decision making behavior toward information technology (IT) within North America covering the manufacturing, education, financial, government, healthcare and retail sectors. The study covers the following enterprise communications technologies: smart phones, tablets, mobile apps, cloud computing, video, audio, and web conferencing, Internet protocol (IP) telephony, company and consumer social media, unified communications client (UCC), time-division multiplexing (TDM) phones, business grade and consumer softphones, customer relationship management (CRM), headsets, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, and mobile device management (MDM).

Specifically, Frost & Sullivan aims to:
•Understand the IT-related challenges organizations face today
•Asses the current and future use of unified communications
•Evaluate factors that drive investments in unified communications
•Gauge the communications infrastructure trends
•Appraise the available IT budgets
•Measure the impact the workforce has on IT


Using a Web-based survey methodology in August 2014, Frost & Sullivan surveyed 501 IT decision makers located in North America, who were involved in their company’s IT-related purchases.
Frost & Sullivan’s survey methodology uses online panels to source only qualified respondents. Respondents must meet the requirements set by a screening process prior to full survey participation. Online panels consist of individuals who volunteer to participate in Web-based surveys and typically receive compensation directly from their panel membership for participating in qualified survey research. In general, survey respondents do not receive direct compensation from Frost & Sullivan for participating in research projects.

Executive Summary

IT decision makers are especially concerned with their ability to make timely and effective investments, comply with new regulatory requirements, and improve business processes. Supporting remote and mobile workers rates the lowest. This may mean that they feel they have this challenge better under control, or, it may simply not be a priority for them.
When it comes to spending money, IT managers are most concerned with improving productivity and reducing costs. They do not base their investment decisions as much on gaining a competitive advantage or attracting and retaining strong employees.
Laptops are still the primary hardware device, but smart phones and tablets are catching up. Across the enterprise, the most commonly deployed tools are IP phones, IP telephony, and business-grade softphones, suggesting voice still matters to almost all employees.
While TDM phones are not in strong use today, many respondents expect to see them grow by 2017.

Although smart phones are not deployed as much as some other technologies, those who have them use them more often than any other communications tool. However, cost keeps companies from deploying them to more employees.
Once looked on with skepticism, business-grade softphones rate highest for overall effectiveness in making timely investments. This may be due to their increased availability within larger UC suites.
Consumer and business-grade softphones are rated highly when it comes to dealing with new regulatory requirements. This may be because they offer tighter controls around recording and other compliance-related features.

Year after year, IT managers tell us they intend to more tightly integrate their communications infrastructure in the future. The data suggests that they are making progress, albeit slowly.
The main reason companies do not deploy UC technologies is that they simply do not think the tools will add value to their business. Although employees’ resistance is not a large factor in most cases, almost a quarter of respondents think their employees do not want to use headsets.
Malware remains the biggest security risk, followed by intentional hacks for criminal or espionage purposes.
When it comes to choosing a provider for hosted services, IT managers care about security, reliability, and cost. Although many say they want an integrated IT infrastructure, they do not rank the need for a broad portfolio highly in this area.

Corporate leaders trust the cloud in large numbers, and they like it for getting access to advanced features. Its Operational Expenditure (OPEX) advantages do not matter nearly as much as other criteria.
The biggest reason companies do not deploy the UCC technology in the cloud is that they prefer the control offered by premises-based solutions. Many are also concerned about security.
Email continues to be the most popular tool to deploy in the cloud. Hosted telephony solutions have a long way to go to catch up.
Across the board, large companies are much more likely to deploy IT in the cloud than are small companies. The gap is much smaller between LEs and mid-size organizations.

The use of consumer-grade social media is rampant among companies of all sizes and in all industries.
The vast majority of organizations either have or will soon have a usage policy for the use of customer-facing social media, and they are approaching it as they would any other enterprise IT tool.
Large enterprises are ahead of small businesses when it comes to managing the use of social media.
Mid-size organizations lag behind their larger and smaller counterparts when it comes to using social media for collaboration.
Manufacturing firms lead the way when using social media for collaboration, probably because they are highly dispersed and have a lot of constituents involved in the R&D and production process. But although they are the biggest users of the technology, manufacturing firms don’t seem to do so with much success.
Educational institutions are best at leveraging social media for internal collaboration.

Companies treat their use of social media more seriously than the use of consumer social media, and they see the biggest benefits of social media in customer relationship and branding.
More than half of the companies have a formal Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in place, and three-quarters enforce it using network-management tools. Mobile-device management and endpoint-security software are also in common use.
Fewer than half of all employees in US businesses are considered “traditional, in-office workers.”

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