Q&A: Vodafone CTO Jeni Mundy on the rise of unified communications

We speak with Vodafone UK's CTO Jeni Mundy to discuss how far remote working and unified communications technologies have come.

Remote working is a fine concept. Not only can it boost worker morale, letting employees operate from wherever they want, it can also boost business by allowing customers to get in contact, even when staff are away from the office.

Unfortunately, many businesses still do not provide remote working capabilities, as indicated by a recent Vodafone report.

Are enabling technologies, such as unified communications, ready to support demand? And are companies generally shifting their culture to allow for remote working?

During a trip around Vodafone's headquarters in Newbury this week, IT PRO caught up with UK chief technology officer (CTO) Jeni Mundy on where remote working, and unified communications in particular, are at now and where they are heading.

Is the demand for unified communications now strong?

A third of all firms are saying unified comms is definitely on their radar as something they would look at doing. If you'd have done this research a few years ago I don't think you would have had that many.

I do think it is an enabling trend, around how do I get my workforce enabling, how do I free my business up to be able to respond to customers as the customers want rather than as and where I've wired my technology in.

Now we're in a place where the technology is mature, it's there, it enables people, it can really deliver for you and your customers. People are now saying I'm serious about having a look at this. I think that's a very positive trend and it just goes to show the fact that flexible working, in it's biggest manifestation, is something that people are actually saying yes, this does matter.'

Is unified comms now cheap enough for businesses outside of the top level firms for the technology to really gain traction?

I'm not going to talk about pricing per se, but yes the appetite we've got, the uptake we've got, the feedback we've had from our customers, this is a great product.

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