Although reliability and security are amongst the most important factors in investment decisions regarding communication solutions, the cost of implementation is the leading inhibitor.
While this is slightly more of a factor for small or medium-sized enterprises with tighter IT budgets, it is still the main issue for a majority of the enterprises responding to a 2007 Datamonitor survey on Enterprise Communications.
Bearing in mind the findings of this research, there are two smaller vendor solutions worthy of note, with products that are focused on ease of deployment through either exploiting existing Microsoft software infrastructure, or by seamlessly integrating services with a next-generation network infrastructure.
Many vendors in the mobile and communications space advocate the implementation of sophisticated and 'expensive' middleware to enable mobility and unified communications.
However, while compromises may have to be made especially around device types and management functionality, by utilising the Microsoft environment the resultant ease of deployment overcomes the number-one inhibitor of implementation cost and could be an approach worthy of consideration, especially for smaller organisations.
Interoute, an operator of a next-generation network, provides an integrated communications platform, Interoute One. This service enables corporate customers to manage voice calls as easily and cost-effectively as e-mail, and without the need for complex integration or upgrades to existing telephony infrastructure.
In addition, the Information Worker Solution can play an important role in the drive for better productivity, creating a single business community and simplifying how people work together. This enables business processes to be improved by always being connected through a single unified communications tool, such as Microsoft's Office Communications Server.
Formotus' FormoPublish enables organisations to benefit from the familiarity and flexibility of Windows Mobile devices and Microsoft software infrastructure. The solution makes it easier to deploy mobile data applications with a click-and-deploy approach, which can be done without writing a single line of code, enabling the easier deployment of access to company information on the move.
The software-as-a-service exploits Microsoft Office's eform product - InfoPath - enabling non-technical workers to create, deploy, and manage applications for wireless mobile devices that can be integrated with existing enterprise systems using web services.
The latest release offers quicker mobile application deployment, improved service management, better usability, and new features such as support for GPS services and electronic signature capture.
IT management, especially those working for smaller organisations, should reconsider whether the approach of deploying sophisticated middleware is really what is required for improving communications and mobility, and perhaps they should take a look at alternative innovative approaches exploiting their existing Microsoft software infrastructure.