Eighty-three percent of organizations expect the number of remote workers in their organizations to increase in the coming year. Consequently, UC capabilities have become a critical component ‒ and in many cases, a necessity ‒ in the IT mix for most companies. Survey findings from technology professionals responsible for managing UC platforms reveal that 95 percent of respondents face challenges in delivering quality UC service to remote workers. Equally concerning, more than three quarters (79 percent) of IT respondents depend on users to alert them to UC quality of service issues that need to be addressed, meaning many issues are never known to IT.
While 98 percent of respondents see value in gaining insight into UC remote worker usage, 75 percent of respondents noted that their existing UC technology lacks the analytic or diagnostic capabilities that would help drive better remote worker experiences. When UC fails and employees turn to unsupported communications tools, 77 percent of respondents noted having data security concerns and 55 percent worry about maintaining compliance regulations.
As UC deployment costs increase with wider deployment, lack of visibility into UC usage and adoption make ROI difficult to calculate. Additionally, 55 percent of respondents report that they spend time every week responding to UC quality issues. When UC fails, survey respondents fear user abandonment of the platform for unsupported communication tools.
Other key findings include:
- 71 percent of organizations have increased UC investments to better support remote workers. However, many still experience adoption challenges. Training difficulties, quality of service issues and unexpected costs remain the top barriers to adoption
- 69 percent of organizations cannot track usage rates which makes it hard to evaluate UC investment decisions
- 55 percent of respondents spend time troubleshooting quality of experience issues weekly, and 20 percent troubleshoot daily or hourly
- Nearly 50 percent of survey respondents face issues when using their UC platform remotely, and use a variety of workaround techniques to fix the problems, exposing the business to risk and discouraging adoption
Ineffective UC delivery affects organizations’ productivity, impacts security, and can increase the support burden for IT. Better UC management alleviates the time IT spends troubleshooting UC problems so they can focus on new technology advancements that will help grow the business. To help protect and strengthen existing UC investments and encourage remote workforce adoption, organizations should:
- Track Remote Worker Usage: The ability to easily track and trend remote workers’ usage of communications features like audio and desktop sharing gives organizations needed insight for determining whether their UC investment is adequately serving the remote worker. If specific steps are taken to increase remote worker adoption of UC, such as the remote deployment of an updated UC client, usage trending enables organizations to measure the impact of those changes. Having good insight into remote worker UC usage also enables the business to proactively monitor for potential compliance and data loss issues.
- Gather and Monitor the Quality of Experience: Remote workers are exposed to a less managed environment, introducing more variables that can reduce their quality of experience. For example, many remote workers attempt to use the audio and video features of their UC solution over a VPN network connection, which introduces substantial real-time network latency resulting in a poor UC experience. Having a seamless view of remote worker QoE data, including the associated network connection type, device make and model, and network performance, helps IT determine if remote worker quality is an issue, pin-point problem areas, and take appropriate corrective action.
- Get Insight into Remote Worker Issues: Challenges faced by remote workers include the endpoint device make and model, the patch version of the UC client software, and the type of external network connection they are using. Having insights into all aspects of individual remote workers’ sessions allows IT to take corrective action. For example, UC client software such as Microsoft Skype for Business often is updated by Microsoft to address performance or usability in specific scenarios. Knowing the versions and cumulative updates remote workers are running allows IT to either proactively prevent certain outdated versions of the client from connecting, or know which individuals they need to upgrade.
Gain UC insights for problem-solving and platform usage
Organizations need to show that their UC investments have been paying off, yet most jump head first into a UC project without knowing how to track costs and adoption rates, or having a clear view of overall UC performance. The Dell Unified Communications Command Suite is the only cross-platform cost, adoption and performance analytics solution on the market for both on-premises and remote users. It enables organizations to confidently make decisions on UC consolidation and cost savings, and facilitate workforce productivity and protect sensitive information.
Curtis Johnstone, senior UC Product Architect and Distinguished Engineer, Dell Systems and Information Management, and Microsoft Skype for Business MVP
"Organizations today are increasing their investments in unified communications platforms to support a growing remote workforce, yet they lack comprehensive UC analytic capabilities to get clear insights into how their remote workers are using the UC platforms, if at all. As investment in these capabilities grows, organizations need better visibility into their UC platforms, both to provide a quality experience that encourages adoption, and better manage costs and determine ROI. Dell is committed to delivering solutions that maximize the investment in UC by enabling IT organizations to more effectively bring the productivity benefits of UC to their workforce, including the remote worker, and to realize the cost benefits of consolidating their investments in multiple UC platforms."
About the Survey:
The Dell-commissioned survey by Dimensional Research captured hard data about the impact of remote workers on organizational unified communications efforts. The survey of more than 200 IT technology professionals responsible for UC platforms was conducted across the United States.
- Unified Communications and the Remote Worker Infographic
- Tech Brief: Enabling the Remote Worker with Unified Communications
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