Skills Gaps Hindering Adoption of Cloud-Based Unified Communications

Katie Franklin is a contributor for the Global Knowledge UK blog. For more courses and information, visit Global Knowledge UK.

New research from Siemens shows that whilst the growth of mobile workforces is fueling a demand for cloud-based unified communications (UC), gaps in critical skills areas are slowing down the adoption of such solutions.

The report, 2012 State of Enterprise Communications, says that organisations are having to cope with increasingly dispersed workforces, with four out of five endpoints no longer located within enterprise headquarters. The survey covered 1,120 companies with at least 500 employees across the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, China, India, Brazil, Russia and Sweden and found that employees’ mobile phones now account for 33% of enterprise endpoints.

This has inevitably led to growing interest in mobile UC and, in turn a demand for IP-based communications solutions. And whilst only 16% of organisations currently have cloud-based UC deployments, according to Rick Puskar, Senior Vice President of Global Portfolio Management at Siemens, “another 45% said they plan to use some form of it in 2012.”

However, the move to IP communication has highlighted problems with IT staff – specifically that their skills are not current enough to manage these emerging technologies. Indeed the Siemens study found that 78% of enterprises struggle with “staff-related challenges” when adopting new UC tools such as video conferencing and web collaboration.

The top areas in which the staff members were rated as less than somewhat prepared for the move are:

  • Private cloud communications (35%)
  • Public cloud communications (35%)
  • Private, WAN-based video conferencing (31%)

The survey also asked what the most significant factors in staffing issues were, and the two most-cited reasons were that enterprise communications are too complex to easily manage (55%) and that they have insufficient staff (also stated by 55%).

And it’s not just in the move to unified communications where gaps in IT skills sets are causing problems. According to new research from CompTIA eight out of ten organisations say their business operations are impacted by similar gaps.

Areas where IT skills shortcomings have an impact include staff productivity, customer service and engagement and profitability.

Respondents cited the following areas as those where their IT workers come up particularly short in terms of skills:

  • Security
  • Data storage
  • Improving network infrastructure
  • Disaster recovery and business continuity
  • Business process automation
  • Mobility
  • Collaboration
  • Virtualisation.

Originally posted at the Global Knowledge UK Training Blog

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