The Race to the Cloud

  • Few companies have moved audio conferencing to a cloud or hybrid model.
  • Organizations realize the value of unified communications as they migrate to a cloud platform for collaboration.

We’ve all lived with the notion of cloud migration for several years. Moving software and applications from an on-premises, licensed model to a virtual, Pay As You Go (PAYG) model can yield huge business advantages. Increased flexibility, scalability, reduced CapEx, and automated updates are just some of the benefits of a cloud model.

In a recent IDG global research study commissioned by AT&T, organizations were surveyed on which collaboration tools/applications are currently deployed via a cloud or hybrid model, and what technologies were scheduled to be migrated in the next 12-24 months. The results make for interesting reading. The evolution of unified communication and collaboration (UCC) technologies has been rapid and exponential. The explosion of mobile access has opened up a new raft of applications that can increase flexibility, productivity, and reduce human latency. These are powerful tools to the modern day worker. What is surprising, however, is that the more ‘traditional’ or early UCC technologies such as audio conferencing, business voice over IP (VoIP), and presence seem to have remained just that – traditional. Only 30 percent of organizations surveyed have moved their audio conferencing to either a cloud or hybrid model, 18 percent have migrated their VoIP, and just 16% their presence capabilities.

Growth of video and web conferencing

Subsequently, this trend appears reversed for technologies that deliver richer, more immersive experiences. Web conferencing has evolved massively with the introduction of HD. Video conferencing is now more accessible, cheaper, and not just limited to company executives. Whereas historically these technologies had the stigma of being ‘reserved’ for only certain business units and pay grades, they are now widely accepted as being a core business tool for the majority of employees. The results back this up:  40 percent of organizations have their web conferencing application off-premise. Video conferencing shows that a third have already deployed as a cloud or hybrid model – although this could still be considered as an emerging technology.

Although we can see a disparity between UCC technologies that are currently in the cloud, and those that are still hosted on premise, there is a growing acceptance, an appetite, and strategy to migrate to an on-demand model. According to the research, 26 percent of organizations are planning to move their web conferencing capabilities to the cloud. Audio conferencing, although not the most immersive of platforms, is still obviously a key business tool for organizations, as in the next two years a further 22 percent are planning on migrating off-premises. And so the trend continues: Instant Messaging, content/file sharing, social tools, and contact center applications all appear on the cloud migration agenda in the next few years. Clearly, businesses have embraced the value of UCC and are now prepared to unlock the associated advantages of migrating to a cloud platform in this mobile, flexible, and inclusive work environment.

To discover the other key themes, challenges and drivers affecting organizations collaboration strategy, download the Unified Communications & Collaboration Survey 2014 report below:

Lisanne Powers Unified Communications Lead Marketing Communications Manager AT&T About Lisanne