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Cloud delivery is one of the major communications trends for 2012

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Amongst trends such as social media initiatives and mobility, a move to the cloud may be the shift in unified communications that stands out the most for this year. According to Business Computing World, organizations should expect to see a few major changes to the way employees communication with each other, as well as clients and management.

While the bring-your-own-device trend and social media use are bringing about major changes in unified communications solutions, moving phone systems and other technology to the cloud may have the most noticeable effect. More companies are adopting hosted PBX and VoIP for infrastructure needs and, according to the news source, are reporting quantifiable cost savings.

Cloud services will be necessary not only for savings, but also for flexibility and mobility, another important trend this year. According to the Accenture 2012 CIO Mobility Survey, 67 percent of IT professionals stated that mobility will have just as much impact on their businesses as the internet did in the 1990s. Cloud-based unified communications will allow easier access for employees accessing a work network from a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone, as well assist with telework initiatives.

Many CIOs and IT professionals stated that they are actively developing a mobility strategy, and 94 percent of those in emerging markets said that they are devoting about 20 percent of their budget towards the initiative.

"A majority of CIOs now recognize mobility's potential to transform their business, and we see that reflected in the increasing share of spend for mobility in their IT budgets," said Dan Lauderback, global managing director of Accenture Mobility Services. "But we also see CIOs struggling with a proliferation of employee devices and employee-developed apps and many appear still in the discovery phase regarding the opportunities mobility presents."

According to Lauderback, mobility is a brand new way of doing business. Companies need to shift their focus to employee and customer enablement, as well as explore new and innovative "avenues for commerce via mobility."

Hosted phone systems can be a key element to any cloud and mobility solution, as well as provide cost savings. IT departments and CIOs will need to examine the needs of both a company and its clients, and focus on VoIP or other elements of unified communications in order to implement the best strategy to meet these evolving trends.