Why IT leaders are investing in unified communications & collaboration platforms

Microsoft Teams and Zoom remain the most popular UC&C solutions, according to a new study surveying IT decision makers.

A team using a unified communication and collaboration platform.
Image: Kateryna/Adobe Stock

People are working in-house again, not at home, but businesses are not backing down from Unified Communications SaaS; Rather, they are looking for more tools, particularly agnostic tools, that can help them troubleshoot technical issues with wireless access networks and other connectivity infrastructure.

NETSCOUT, in its third annual survey of 300 IT decision makers at the VP, Director, and CTO level in organizations in the US and Canada with revenues exceeding $1 billion, reported that the vast majority of organizations are adopting unified communications and Added collaboration tools. And most IT leaders (75%) expected the number of UC&C platforms used by their organizations to increase in the new year. 89 percent of respondents to the November 2022 survey said their intent to expand UC&C platforms was driven by the need for new features and functionality; 67% said they would use more platforms to help employees collaborate.

Jump to:

Most organizations support up to four UC&C applications

60% of NETSCOUT survey respondents said UC&C platforms and tools are absolutely critical to their organization’s current work environment, up from 49% in 2021 — a 20% increase year-over-year.

Most enterprise-level organizations support up to four UC&C applications and over a third support between five and nine such tools, while 15% use 10 or more. 86% and 78% of respondents said they use Microsoft Teams and Zoom, respectively. 50% reported using Google Meet, 45% Webex and 37% Slack.

SEE: The best unified communications platform providers for your business (TechRepublic)

Eileen Haggerty, area vice president, product and solution marketing, NETSCOUT, also pointed to platforms being adopted by mobile operators. “Some of the big telcos have developed: Verizon’s BlueJeans video collaboration platform, [recently defunct] Conferencing software StarLeaf and video and audio telco Lifesize, so there’s a diversity.”

Back to the office means fewer UC&C hassles

In the survey, 29% of IT leaders said a majority of their helpdesk tickets were related to UC&C issues — up from 42% in 2021. Haggerty said this is likely due to employees returning to work .

“As we tried to decipher some reasons for this change, last year more people were working from home where corporate IT didn’t have the home connection or the last mile. We can see that as more people work in offices, the number of trouble tickets decreases.”

The proliferation of UC&C platforms is still a challenge for IT

When communication platforms are slow, IT gets a help ticket; The study found that multiple platforms, used across different departments and by different teams, were negatively impacting IT teams’ ability to respond effectively and quickly to these helpdesk tickets. The reason for the problems, Haggerty explained, is that companies often rely on a third-party management tool to help them decode problems where the problem is actually beyond the scope of a single UC&C platform.

SEE: The 6 Best Low-Cost or Free Unified Communications Platforms (Fit for small businesses)

“So imagine you have multiple Unified Communications-as-a-Service platforms deployed and multiple people reporting similar issues with different applications, but the dashboards for each are ‘green’ – meaning their service is perfectly fine “, she said . “But your users might complain about slow connections to audio or video, poor video quality, voice and video reconciliation, etc. Ultimately, IT understands it’s probably a network environment problem because the vendor’s tools say everything is green. How do we find and fix this problem?”

How vendor-independent tools are used for these IT problems

Solving these problems, which can affect the wide area network, requires vendor-agnostic tools to inspect the packet headers, allowing for an investigation of the conversation path within that organization’s ecosystem to determine where the failure might be occurring.

A good example of this, explained Haggerty, is the assignment of quality of service classes. Latency issues in voice, UC&C audio, and video conferencing all have a QoS tag that’s sent to a priority queue because poor quality in live experiences is obviously a matter of urgency, she said.

“Sometimes your network or WAN provider or hybrid worker at home may not be applying an appropriate QoS class, and that issue is well outside the scope of the UC&C toolkit,” she said. The survey found that only 23% of organizations use an independent tool that leverages packet analysis to monitor remote worker performance and experience.

“Packages contain valuable information that allows you to locate and troubleshoot them if you monitor them with comprehensive analytics,” she said.

However, the survey found that 82% of UC&C-related helpdesk requests are at least somewhat easy to resolve. Almost a third said they can usually resolve UC&C-related requests within minutes, but more than half report that resolution takes a few hours, and some take days or weeks to resolve.

“There are still more than half of incoming tickets that take a few hours to resolve,” she said. “If your users, let’s say customer service, can’t get on the phone for two or three hours, that’s an eternity,” says Haggerty.

Whether you’re increasing or decreasing IT staff this year, you’ll find valuable insights in TechRepublic Premium’s IT Staff Onboarding and Offboarding Checklist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *