News
Apr
27
UC Mid-Market Report
Posted by Tom Hassan on 27 April 2017 09:30 AM

Mid-market needs to tackle untapped Unified Communications potential to address workforce productivity challenge

  • 56% of mid-market companies say workforce productivity is a top priority
  • Only 52% have implemented UC
  • Just  one in five is ‘very satisfied’ with UC system
  • Biggest bugbears include cost, audio conference facilities and lack of social integration

56% of mid-market companies say workforce productivity is a top priority, but only 52% have invested in a UC system and the majority are missing out on the full collaborative potential of UC for their businesses. As well as being too expensive, mid-market UC bugbears include sub-optimal audio-conferencing facilities, poor data sharing abilities and failure to integrate with company social networks.

This mid-market UC dissatisfaction is highlighted in a new report published today by Cloud and Data Centre and Communications specialist, Node4, titled ‘UC deployment amongst mid-market businesses in 2017’. The report is based on research which examines the IT priorities of mid-market companies with a turnover of £15- £800m.

While supporting the needs of the modern workforce is a priority for 40% of the mid-market, the uptake of tools to support this is seemingly lagging behind workplace expectations. Only 18% benefit from fully-featured UC including voice, video, mobile convergence, file sharing, presence, integration with social media and other business software.

Just one in five is ‘very satisfied’ with their UC system, which is perhaps not surprising given that 70% are missing out on full collaborative features and making do with voice functionality, fixed mobile convergence, video conferencing and a few additional collaboration features.

However, on a more positive note, those that haven’t yet implemented UC are either running a pilot (17%), planning a trial in the next 12 months (12%) or considering various UC options for their business (12%). The study suggests that the mid-market is just beginning to embrace UC as a service (UCaaS), which represents one in ten UC deployments in our study.

“In the last year we’ve sensed real hunger within the mid-market for the kind of advanced, fully-featured UC systems that, until recently, only the largest enterprises have been able to afford,” commented Simon Herbert, Cloud Solution Development Specialist, Cisco. “There’s an enormous opportunity here. It’s only right that more advanced functionality should start to migrate down the chain via a UcaaS model. We’re delighted to see that Node4 enabling this transition and offering its partners a clear route to addressing this need.”

Paul Bryce, Commercial Director at Node4 commented: “Mid-market companies are expecting to create thousands of new jobs by 2020. Many of these employees will expect to be able to move seamlessly between multiple communications types to collaborate with colleagues. Being able to meet their needs will be crucial to recruiting and retaining the right talent.

“Yet our research shows that the mid-market is still a long way from realising the full potential of UC for employee collaboration. This is partly because enterprise-class UC systems have been unaffordable and inaccessible for the mid-market. However UC, as a service, is now available meeting an obvious market need for advanced, fully-featured UC systems at an affordable price.”

Node4 has recently launched a new UCaaS solution, which brings enterprise-class UCaaS to the mid-market, with all the features of Cisco HCS. These include voice, video, instant messaging and presence, teleconferencing, voicemail and integrated messaging, mobility, and contact centre functionality.

The new report by Node4 entitled ‘Mid-market UC Deployment in 2017:Are mid-sized companies reaping the benefits of UC for improved business performance?’ can be downloaded here.

To book an appointment to see a demo of Node4’s game-changing new mid-market system at UC Expo, or to discuss Node4’s views regarding UC and the mid-market, contact node4@wildfirepr.com.


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Apr
20

IT budget outlook is bright, with 77% of mid-market companies saying IT budgets will rise in 2017

Mid-market companies are bucking the UK trend, with 77% expecting a rise in 2017 IT budgets, according to a new report published today by Cloud and Data Centre and Communications specialist, Node4. ‘Mid-market IT priorities 2017’ reveals 35% of IT decision makers in the mid-market expect budget rises of 5-10%, while a further 22% anticipate a hike of over 10%, against a backdrop of shrinking IT budgets in the UK as a whole.

The research examines the attitudes of 200 IT decision makers at mid-market companies with a turnover of £15- £800m. It found that business growth, security and reducing operational costs are the top three IT priorities for the UK’s mid-market sector in 2017. It also revealed that hosted and cloud-based services will take a significant share of mid-market IT budgets in 2017, with Infrastructure as a Service (20%) and Managed Security as a Service (16%) being the top two cloud spending priorities for the year, followed by Managed Services (12%) and Disaster Recovery as a Service (11%).

However, confidence in the mid-market’s general financial outlook is not quite so strong, as just 18% of mid-sized businesses claimed to be optimistic about their organisation’s fortunes in 2017. Almost a third (31%) emphasised the difficulties presented by a looming Brexit and an overwhelming 81% agree that weathering Brexit is a high or medium priority this year.

The mid-market sector believes the government, the financial sector and IT partners should be doing more to support this increasingly crucial sector of the UK economy, with the report revealing that 36% believe their needs are overlooked by government policy makers; 34% struggle to attract investment and a quarter feel their needs are overlooked by IT providers.

Paul Bryce, Business Development Director, Node4, comments: “Mid-tier companies are the engine of the UK’s economy, so it is promising to see investment taking place in the IT infrastructure that will help to fuel further growth. It is no surprise that mid-market companies are embracing the cloud, which affords a huge opportunity to drive efficiency, agility, scalability, and to empower workforces.

“Despite the current challenging business climate, the mid-market is the fastest growing sector in the UK economy, and policy-makers, investors and IT vendors alike should focus on enabling this growth. Fast-growing companies need to work with an IT partner that can help their infrastructure scale to embrace new staff, locations, and acquisitions. Node4 has helped many companies cope with such growth and we will continue to focus on the fast-growing mid-market in 2017.”

The new report by Node4 entitled ‘Mid-market IT priorities in 2017: How mid-market companies are investing in IT to drive growth in a challenging business climate’ can be downloaded here.


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