Point, Click, Talk: The 2011 Unified Communications Tracking Poll

Unified communications – the convergence of enterprise voice, video and data services and software applications to achieve greater collaboration among individuals or groups and improve business processes – can reduce operating costs, increase productivity and facilitate decision making.

CDW launched the annual Unified Communications Tracking Poll in 2009 to monitor attitudes, approaches and progress toward the adoption of unified communications (UC) technology.

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Click to Tweet: Unified communications implementations doubled in 2010 among US organizations, #CDW report finds

Now in its third year, the 2011 Unified Communications Tracking Poll surveys 900 IT professionals in U.S. organizations to track progress and determine:

  • Where organizations are with UC adoption
  • What benefits are driving adoption
  • What challenges still hinder progress
  • How organizations can successfully deploy the technology

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To view an in-depth analysis of the CDW 2011 Unified Communications Tracking Poll, please complete the information form at the link below.

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Selected Highlights

UC Adoption Up Sharply; Meets or Exceeds Expectations

  • Over the past year, the percentage of U.S. organizations with fully implemented UC solutions has doubled

UC is fully implemented:

UC ImplementedROI Results* ROI Results*Reported by organizations that have fully implemented UC and have tracked ROI, N = 95

Mobility Features May be Driving UC Adoption

  • Organizations especially value UC’s on-the-go access features and benefit from increased productivity and decreased operating costs

Mobility Features*Respondents asked to select all of the UC features employees at their organization find (or expect to find) most useful
**Respondents asked to select all of the UC benefits that are (or would be) most important to their organizations

Cloud Computing Eases Budget, Implementation Challenges

  • IT managers say their greatest UC challenge is securing budget commitment
  • Among organizations implementing UC in the cloud, however, 65% say UC is more cost effective to deploy, 75% say UC is faster to deploy, and 75% say UC is easier to deploy
  • More than two-thirds (69%) of organizations are evaluating, deploying or have fully deployed UC using a cloud model*

Implementation in the Cloud*As reported by those familiar with their organization’s cloud computing status
**Respondents asked to select all the cloud models they have utilized for UC applications

Industries at a Glance

Percent Fully Implemented Top UC Benefits Percent Evaluating, Deploying, or Have Fully Deployed Using Cloud Model
Medium-Large Business 20 Increased productivity 76
Reduced operating costs
Federal Government 14 Increased productivity 75
Reduced operating costs
State and Local Government 11 Increased productivity 55
Reduced operating costs
Healthcare 16 Increased productivity 71
More reliable communication
Higher Education 17 Distance learning 67
Increased productivity
K-12 19 Increased productivity 71
Reduced operating costs



First, envision the results.

  • Think outside the box. UC is more than “voice mail in your e-mail.” It can change the very way your organization collaborates and operates
  • Focus on the UC experience for your internal and external customers alike. Study a group, or groups, within your organization to understand how they collaborate today. This will give you an idea of the experience they are expecting from a unified communications solution
  • Enlist a trusted advisor to help develop an organizational strategy for unified communications before choosing a specific platform or vendor

Implement with adaptability in mind.

  • Deploy a solution that allows flexibility. UC is a rapidly changing technology. The ability to adapt as the market changes is critical
  • Customers and citizens today are comfortable communicating through many different channels, such as voice, social media, Web or video. Allow them to communicate with you in the way they feel most comfortable
  • Embrace mobility. Today’s IT organizations can manage the complexities of end users wanting to employ personal devices such as smart phones or tablets. Deploy UC applications that work securely on multiple platforms and devices


CDW hired O’Keeffe & Company to conduct an online survey of 900 IT decision makers in February 2011. The sample includes responses from medium and large businesses; Federal, state and local government agencies; healthcare organizations; higher education institutions and K-12 public school districts. The sample size results in a margin of error of ±3.2% at a 95% confidence level. The margin of error for industry sub-groups is ±8.0% at a 95% confidence level.

Medium-Large Business(≥100 employees) Federal Government State/Local Government
N = 150 N = 150 N = 150
38% Public
62% Private
71% Federal civilian
29% Department of Defense
47% State
21% County
32% Municipal
Healthcare Higher Education K-12 Public School Districts
N = 150 N = 150 N = 150
67% Hospital/Med center
24% Doctor’s office
9% Long-term care
33% Private
67% Public
77% Four-year
20% Community college
3% Other
44% <2500 students
27% 2500-9999 students
29% ≥ 10,000 students

Respondent Demographics:

IT Decision Makers Titles Organization Size
100% of respondents contribute to decisions on the adoption of voice and telephony, conferencing, messaging or mass emergency notification technologies
30% IT Director/Manager
8% Telecom Director/Manager
38% IT Supervisor, Specialist or Engineer
11% Telecom Supervisor, Specialist or Engineer
7% <100 employees
25% 100-499 employees
46% 500-10,000 employees
22% >10,000 employees