The End User’s Voice

by Dave Michels

I recently reviewed two current end user surveys. When corporations publish research studies it is usually to confirm their products, services, and strategies are aligned with customer feedback. No exception here.

But what is interesting this time is that two separate global studies, by two separate global companies, with two separate strategies happen to have so much.

The two studies are:  

  • Siemens Enterprise Communications (SEN) published the 2012 State of Enterprise Communications. The study was conducted by ReRez Research in January 2012 and included more than 1,100 respondents from the enterprises with more than 500 employees from US, UK, Germany, China, India, Brazil, Russia, and Sweden.
  • BT Commissioned a study by Davies Hickman. The summary report titled The Collaboration Paradox, provides no details about the survey itself, just the findings. BT sent me the report last month, so it’s presumably a 2012 study.

Keep in mind that SEN produces its own premises based UC solutions (OpenScape) and related applications. The firm also offers both managed services and a public hosted service. BT is primarily a carrier, though it is aggressively rolling out managed services and UC cloud offers known as BT One which utilizes collaboration solutions from both Microsoft and Lync.

Key findings from SEN:


  • That the primary driver to UC is mobile and distributed workforces. 80% of endpoints are residing outside of corporate headquarters.
  • In terms of applications being leveraged, the most common is Web Collaboration, followed by voice conferencing and “UC applications.”
  • The problem preventing more UC is IT skills gaps. Top areas in which the staff members were rates as less than somewhat prepared were: Private cloud, public cloud, private WAN based video.
  • That PBX costs are 43% higher (cost per employee) than IP-based communication systems.

Key Recommendations from the survey:

  • Centralize UC. This can lower administrative costs, overall trunking requirements, and electrical and hardware expenses.
  • SIP – to reduce toll charges
  • Move conferencing in-house
  • Consider managed services
  • Consider public cloud

Seems straightforward enough. SEN is building its managed services practice and cloud solution, while significantly streamlining its premises solutions. SEN offers rich desktop collaboration and embraces SIP trunks and endpoints. Now, let’s look at BT. BT titled their findings the Collaboration Paradox because they found global executives want to collaborate more, yet are stuck with outdated communication resulting with slow decision making.


  • 58% of “global executives” agree with “Our IT department don’t seem up to date with the latest technology.” 62% agree with Training is the biggest barrier to use of UC technology.  (IT Skills Gaps)
  • Most executives want collaboration tools with desktop sharing coming in first place at 74%. Followed by remote access to files, mobility, UM, and integrated IM/email (last was Telepresence).
  • The results changed a bit by country. Brazil, China, and India are the most enthusiastic about collaboration tools.

The BT survey clearly shows that executives are demanding more unified communications, with 84 percent stating that, together, instant messaging, e-mail, phone, video and telepresence help them be more successful. BT is upgrading its One portfolio to include TWO key Ones: One Cloud Lync and One Enterprise Cisco as managed services that can centralize communications and reduce costs with centralization and SIP trunking. BT is also intends to develop its public cloud offering. The One family also includes:

  • One Voice Anywhere: smartphone app and web client to facilitate international mobility.
  • One Collaboration: BT is teaming with Dolby on its new voice conferencing experience (this one rocks).
  • One Collaboration Video: HD endpoints that bring immersive face to face interaction to the desktop.

Lots of similarities. Yet, two very different vendors, coming at UC&C from two very different perspectives. Different technologies, but united on several key market factors from two 2012 market surveys.