2 min read

Tough times could spell UC opportunity

Unified communications is maturing, and challenging times make it even more attractive

So, there might be a recession going on. And the price of gas is going through the roof. And companies don’t want to spend a lot of money on big IT projects right now. Sure, it doesn’t sound great when you look at it like that, but it’s not all bad news.

Tough times often bring about new opportunities – those that help customers save money, improve productivity and stay competitive, despite what’s going on around them.

One of those opportunities could be unified communications. It’s always been a smart idea to unify telephony, conferencing, messaging and telepresence. But now companies are more motivated than ever, with the skyrocketing cost of business travel (and pressure to reduce carbon emissions).

The cost of air travel has gone through the roof, thanks to rising fuel costs. Some companies are even finding that it’s not worth the drive from downtown Toronto to a branch office in Mississauga – with the cost of gas and the time wasted sitting in traffic, they’re looking to explore other options.

Unified communications is not a new technology, of course, but there’s still a lot of confusion about it in the marketplace. Companies don’t necessarily understand how it works – and therefore don’t understand how it can help them. So there’s a market out there, but it needs resellers who are willing to get out there, gain the necessary skills and sell their customers on the idea. It could bring in some decent margins, but not without a bit of hard work.

Still, unified communications is becoming mainstream – even Microsoft is now playing the UC game. And this could be a good time to capitalize on it.

Tech Data has already made a big push into unified communications, and it’s expanding that even further with its latest announcement – to distribute Polycom’s portfolio of voice, video and collaboration solutions.

Polycom offers high-def video, wired and wireless voice and content products that adhere to open standards, so resellers can integrate them into their own security, networking and UC solutions. They’re designed to “accelerate the decision-making process” both internally and externally by allowing companies to create remote meetings, regardless of location.

Through Tech Data, resellers will have access to Polycom’s voice, video, vertical and business solutions, as well as its HDX line of personal and room telepresence solutions.

It may be hard to convince some companies of the benefits of unified communications, since those benefits are often intangible – and those companies might be facing IT budget cutbacks (or freezes). But conferencing and collaboration are still likely to take off, even in tough economic times. It often takes a negative situation to get people’s attention, and UC may finally get some of the attention it deserves.