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Mobility, Specific Features Lead Channel Sales for UC

September 18, 2015

Communications channel partners who are relying on the standard product features in a unified communications (UC) suite to woo customers may be missing a key driver: Mobility.

According to research from Evolve IP, for those end users whose system doesn’t enable mobility, it was cited as the second most-desired capability – slightly behind video calling. However, with 76 percent of organizations responding saying they already had video capabilities in-house, mobility enablement is the most prominent feature wanted in a new communications systems.

Of those that do have mobility enabled, a full 41 percent of cloud customers said that they were very satisfied with mobility enablement—as did 24 percent of premises-based UC users. However, there’s work to do: Only three in 10 were very satisfied with their system’s bring-your-own-device (BYOD) enablement, as were just 14.5 percent of premises-based users.

 “This year’s communications survey clearly shows that mobility is a major driver for organizations when evaluating what they need their next communications system to enable," said Don Mennig, senior vice president of marketing of Evolve IP. “Channel partners will be very well served to make that a vital part of their conversation with end-buyers.”

Meanwhile, channel partners may want to steer clear of the broader “unified communications” catch-all. The company’s 2015 communications survey re-confirmed the unfortunate fact that communications buyers (including both IT professionals and executives) have little understanding of the term, or concept, of unified communications. That’s despite the ongoing push of analysts, and the industry itself, to educate businesses on UC’s value.

In fact, just 25 percent of respondents said that they were “very familiar" with unified communications—merely a slight decrease from the 2013 survey. In contrast, 35 percent stated they were “not at all familiar" with UC.


For channel partners, the takeaway should be that focusing on solving real business challenges with specific features (like mobility or video) should be the approach.

“Buyers are looking for real features and benefits and the term UC just hasn’t connected with them,” Mennig said.

A look at Google searches bears this out. There are 19,430 estimated average monthly searches for “video conferencing" in a UC context, versus just 7,560 monthly searches for the term “unified communications" itself.

Channel partners that take the right approach to UC sales have an immense amount of opportunity ahead of them, the survey revealed: A full 38 percent of organizations replace their phones every seven to 10 years, and right now, one in four organizations have communications systems that are seven or more years old.

Also, 27 percent of organizations plan to move to a cloud phone system for their next purchase and 53 percent remain undecided. Just 2 in 10 expect to go premises-based.

Finally, almost across the board, cloud communications customers were happier than premisess based customers with their systems’ features. Four in 10 were very satisfied with their productivity enhancements vs. 23.5 percent of premisess-based users.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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