UCaaS Adoption Continues to Soar
Industry analysts agree – the unified communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) market will continue to grow by leaps and bounds in 2020 and beyond.
Mordor Intelligence, for example, predicts a compound aggregated growth rate of more than 25% between 2019 and 2024. Orion Market Research forecasts a CAGR of nearly 25%, citing market drivers including “easy integration, compatibility and service support and low cost of ownership.” Furthermore, Technavio predicts growth in enterprise collaboration (more than 25%), enterprise telephony (nearly 25%) and contact center applications (22%), with collaboration responsible for over half of investments between 2016 and 2021.
UCaaS is no longer a question of “if” – it is a question of “when.” In 2020, UCaaS will become so pervasive that service providers, businesses and organizations will need to start making the move, especially given that legacy systems will not be supported forever.
2019 was an incredible year for UCaaS, in large part driven by how people work. People moved away from centralized, physical offices and towards using their home offices and mobile devices. They are still connected to their colleagues, customers and partners, but in entirely new ways.
Over the past couple of decades, unified communications – connecting office telephony and collaboration applications to mobile devices – have supported the distributed workforce. In order to attract the highest quality employees, organizations are finding that work flexibility and freedom are what workers of all generations now expect.
The growth and evolution of cloud communications has also contributed to the popularity of UCaaS. We now have the density of cloud data centers available to improve quality of service, have addressed cloud security issues and, as we move to 5G, we will be able to deliver high-definition voice and video real-time communications applications using cloud-native approaches.
Innovation in the “applications layer” is also making UCaaS a much more attractive alternative as these business solutions extend beyond basic functionality (internal communications, for example) to support omnichannel external communications with customers, whether through upgraded contact centers, or through embedded applications. This has made it possible to start a video chat or other “one touch” services possible with one click.
Economics is another huge plus with the right UCaaS platform, including the elastic nature of services. For example, instead of complicated “moves-adds-changes” and the need for wired or even wireless “desktop phones,” IT teams can simply add or subtract subscribers to the service, and “point and click” to enable specific features or set up meeting groups.
This granular control also addresses security concerns, which have long been related to the shadow IT trend where employees and even entire teams turn away from official communications and collaboration platforms to use third-party web-based services, which can create huge risks when it comes to the protection of sensitive information.
But who can blame them? When IT does not keep up with the trends and doesn’t offer a better alternative, employees simply ignore systems and applications they do not like. Progressive organizations are now embracing tools that make it easy and fun to connect, so they don’t default to highly risky alternatives.
The flexibility and scalability of cloud-based platforms is perfectly aligned with where organizations are heading, with mobility top of mind. Application programming interfaces (APIs) are unlocking innovation, and the integration of artificial intelligence is changing the game, as it can help business leaders understand communications behaviors and how they are directly impacting productivity and business outcomes.
There are so many exciting growth categories in the real-time communications space. Whether it be the growth of 5G, IoT, SD-WAN and programmable networking, UCaaS will continue to grow given the clear benefits it brings. This will continue to also change the direction for resellers, who can now compete with a smoother, simpler offering with instant provisioning, excellent managed services tools, strong security capabilities and more. One of the lesser known benefits of the growth of UCaaS for those who offer it is the limitless number of innovations that can be added on – which means new sources of revenue beyond the initial implementation.
By Patrick Joggerst