Twenty-three percent of the enterprises have already deployed, or are currently pilot testing unified communications in the Asia Pacific region excluding Japan, said IDC Monday.
According to the research firm, it used a cluster analysis statistical method which helps uncover four distinct clusters of enterprises -- tech innovators, tech mimics, tech skeptics and tech laggards, based on their adoption and affinity for new technologies and work styles.
The UC adoption study indicated that tech innovators are the early adopters of UC, while tech mimics will dominate the next wave of adoption, said IDC which identifies corporate mindset as the key characteristic driving the adoption of unified communications and Enterprise 2.0 technologies among businesses in the region.
"UC adopters and those doing pilots essentially form the installed base for next generation collaborative environments," said Shalini Verma, research manager for IDC's Asia/Pacific Communications Group. "Today, tech innovators are at the forefront of adopting collaborative applications and enterprise 2.0 applications."
The different adopters
Technology adoption is in the DNA of tech innovators, which most often tend to be mid-market enterprises typically from the IT, IT-enabled services (ITeS), business process outsourcing (BPO), telecom and Internet/Web 2.0 vertical industries, the advisory company said.
Tech mimics, conversely, are inherently copycat enterprises, with a focus on imbibing best practices that could have been invented in other enterprises. These are typically large enterprises that employ more than 1,000 people and rely on proven technology, IDC added.
In the future, the adoption of web and video related collaborative applications will take precedence over voice related collaborative applications, according to IDC.
In the next one to two years, tech mimics will out-pace tech innovators in adopting collaborative applications such as voice, web and video conferencing.
However, this will not be the case for enterprise 2.0 applications because tech innovators will continue to lead enterprise x.0 adoption in the coming years. Tech laggards, enterprises that are least favorable towards new technology and work style, prefer hosted collaborative applications.
Within the enterprise x.0 space, they have an affinity for internal wikis which provide them with a fairly informal and self adaptive medium of knowledge management and collaboration.
UC as driver for telecommuting
Results show that UC is emerging as a driver for telecommuting. The top reason for implementing telecommuting for more than 40 percent of the enterprises was the availability of new UC tools, said IDC. Collaboration and productivity enhancement are cited as main drivers for UC adoption in the region and the impetus to consolidate systems across multiple sites also ranks among the top three reasons for embracing UC, IDC added.
In the current economically challenging environment, where enterprises are trying to cut costs and simplify their ICT infrastructure, UC gets deployed as an added measure of cutting costs across the enterprise for optimized manpower resource management, the research house said.
Enterprises are also torn between the need to continuously innovate and drive down costs. A good deal of the innovation budget will now be channeled towards reducing cost such as the cost of communication, IDC noted.
Preferred collaboration tools suppliers
The IDC survey shows that the most preferred UC and Enterprise 2.0 suppliers for APEJ enterprises are local telecom carriers, IT service providers (ITSPs)/system integrators (SIs), and internet service providers (ISPs).
This clearly points to a disconnect between market perception and realities because UC vendors have been focusing on enabling their traditional channel base, said IDC, adding that ITSPs and network integrators are now the most actively building UC capabilities and demo centers in the region.
Future UC opportunities
"Based on the study, IDC identifies opportunities for UC adoption within eGovernment initiatives around major public events and workplace modernization," said Shalini.
Utility companies that are government led and those focused on new energy are also emerging as pockets of opportunities for UC adoption, said IDC, adding that business process optimization in the long run will open avenues for discrete UC adoption among tech innovators, while business process re-engineering will throw up opportunities for UC adoption among tech mimics.