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As multinational companies strive to cut costs, improve efficiency and streamline processes, many are starting to benefit from the convergence of technologies in unified communications (UC) to achieve business transformation.

As multinational companies strive to cut costs, improve efficiency and streamline processes, many are starting to benefit from the convergence of technologies in unified communications (UC) to achieve business transformation. Analysts confirm this trend, a recent report from IDC states UC take up has increased from 17% in 2009 to 28% in 2010 and another report from Gartner states 40% of large enterprises expect their UC budgets to expand over that of last year.

This is happening because the world of work is changing. In Western Europe the average number of mobile workers in 2010 was 21%, this is predicted to rise to 26% by 2013, with a 10% increase expected in businesses of over 1,000 employees over the next three years. Globally, IDC predicts that the number of mobile workers will exceed 1.2 billion in 2013, representing 35% of the global workforce.

Mobile flexible working is increasing because of increased globalisation, more mergers and acquisitions, more dispersed business locations, employee convenience and increasing environmental and cost concerns about transport and travel.

But, mobile flexible working without a coherent unified communications strategy can create problems:

For these reasons, telephony based fixed mobile convergence (FMC) is often considered to be the first phase of any mobile unified communications (UC) strategy - driven primarily by the business need for greater cost-reduction, improved visibility and control of telecoms spend and, closer customer engagement and an increase in productivity.

  • Complexity: Many businesses have multiple communications contracts across multiple currencies from multiple suppliers for fixed line, fixed data, mobile voice, mobile data and broadband connectivity. Each needs separate management, billing and support.

  • Lost business: The analyst firm Forrester says 50% of workers experience project delays on a weekly basis because key decision makers cannot be reached and Sage Research says 22% of monthly deadlines are missed because the right person cannot be found at the right time.

  • Competitiveness: Gartner say only 30% of all employees forward their fixed phone to their mobile phone.

  • Risk: Employees use their own devices on the corporate network without any enterprise device management tools to minimise security risks.

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