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South African Unified Communications Market Shows Growth Potential


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January 16, 2008

South African Unified Communications Market Shows Growth Potential

By Anuradha Shukla, TMCnet Contributing Editor

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) shows that the unified messaging and communications market in South Africa offers significant potential for growth.

Organizations and individuals are encouraged by workforce productivity, cost optimization and improved workforce mobility to adopt unified communications (UC) solutions. The unified messaging and communications market in South Africa earned revenues of between $30 and $35 million in 2006 and is projected to reach between $54 and $63 million by 2013.
Frost & Sullivan analyst Letticia Nkumbula said in the report that UC improves communication by allowing instant access to information using any available communication mode. She noted that the ability to integrate previously siloed equipment leads to cost optimization.
In addition to removing barriers associated with restricted communication between people using different communication modes, UC provides mobile workers with a constant link to the office, giving them immediate access to information. UC also unifies the competitive environment in which industry participants operate.
Customers often seek products from the same vendor due to the problems associated with integration. With consolidation, customers can receive an end-to-end product offering on their existing infrastructure. Frost & Sullivan explained that currently, the lack of skilled personnel is a key factor hampering the growth of UC. The research firm observed that the complexity of implementing UC solutions requires the combined expertise of IT and telecommunication skills.
Nkumbula further explained that the inclusion of skills transfer and development programs in company policies can assist in alleviating the situation caused by the shortage of skills. The demand for high financial incentives by skilled personnel is aggravating an already challenging situation.
In contrast, consolidation among market participants will minimize the gap associated with the shortage of skills. The research firm believes that a unified industry model can be used to promote a diversified skilled base and is also essential to ease the problems associated with system integration.
According to Frost & Sullivan, the growth of UC in South Africa is dependant on the ability to integrate the solution into the existing infrastructure. Companies can use the portfolio approach to overcome problems related to system integration and the shortage of skilled personnel pool. UC solutions will thus be available to a wide client base and customers will finally have an end-to-end package that improves productivity, particularly among the mobile workforce.

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Anuradha Shukla is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anuradha’s article, please visit her columnist page.

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