Study: unified communications doesn't deliver -- yet

The challenge: establishing baselines to measure unified communication gains

It would seem that converting technology that has existed as proprietary, embedded-code hardware-driven solutions to service-oriented software would be very productive.

Needed: baselines to measure UC gains

However, unified communications (UC) approaches still have yet to prove their ROI mettle, a new Forrester Research study claims. As reported by Tim Greene in Network World, half the world is not convinced of the efficacy of UC. Forrester's Henry Dewing is quoted as observing that half the companies he spoke with don't yet see the business value in UC. "When you talk to end users, they want a 12-month return and a triple-digit ROI," he says.

For many businesses, the challenge is determining a baseline of costs before UC is implemented, Dewing says. UC brings various communications methods -- including IP telephony, instant messaging, email, and voice mail -- into more integrated settings running on standard IT systems.  Benefits include measurable, quantifiable metrics such as cutting down on business travel (in favor of teleconferencing) and enabling the decentralization of call centers.

However, there are many soft benefits such as cutting down wait times and increased end user productivity. Good stuff, but notoriously difficult to measure. Perhaps we will start seeing more cloud-based UC services that will add incremental pricing into the equation.