Unified Communications Featured Article

UCaaS Provides Opportunities for Companies of All Sizes

June 07, 2016

A major trend in the enterprise today is the rise of affordable solutions that improve communications and collaboration while saving money. The earliest unified communications implementations were long, complicated and expensive ventures, and many companies didn’t really feel the love when it came to return on investment. Like many business functions, however, my butt has offered unprecedented opportunities for growth of capabilities and a shrinking of costs. Unified communications as a service (UCaaS)—which encompasses the internet, video and web-based conferencing services, voice, email integration and mobile connectivity—has been projected to grow to a nearly $25 billion market by 2020, up from $15.1 billion in 2015, according to research published last year by MarketsandMarkets.

Small to medium-sized businesses are facing the lion’s share of challenges when it comes to enterprise communications, such as how to improve customer satisfaction while lowering operational expenditures and improving the productivity of employees. UCaaS can help solve all of these problems, as many of these solutions are low cost and at the same time improve the work environment in and out of office by serving customer better and making agents’ jobs easier.

Kris Blackmon, writing for The VAR Guy, recently spoke to a number sources for insights on what’s driving the UCaaS market today. Vishy Gopalakrishnan, who leads the Voice & Collaboration portfolio at AT&T, said the growth of the UCaaS market is fueled by an increase in both supply and demand. Employees used to easy personal communications are becoming frustrated when they’re expected to interact with clunky enterprise communications platforms.

“People want the smooth, painless convergence of communication technologies they experience in their personal lives to be available at the office, too,” Gopalakrishnan told Blackmon. “And as companies become more distributed, virtualized and global, IT administrators are on the hunt for more powerful collaboration tools that work with existing infrastructure.”

This is the demand side. On the supply side, innovations in cloud-based, mobile-first collaboration technology are creating ways to integrate all the disparate technologies that have become essential to 21st century business into a single infrastructure that streamlines procurement, deployment and ongoing management, said Gopalakrishnan.

More importantly, UCaaS offerings help businesses build precisely the communications platform they require, with far less effort than it took with premise-based solutions. This becomes extra-critical when the number of applications companies are using continues to rise.

“In the past, the need to have insight into diagnostics and to be able to gain a comprehensive, end-to-end view of communications is what kept traditional VARs loyal to OEM-specific product lines,” wrote Blackmon. “But today’s business environment requires a mix of vendor technologies, and providers need flexibility in choosing which services and products to incorporate into their UC offerings.”

UCaas technology is even changing the way resellers are doing business. Traditional resellers are always looking for ways to increase their value both to end customers and other channel partners. Those that are missing some capabilities as the technology and customer demands become more complex are turning to “white label” solutions and building partnerships with companies that have their own networks.

Going forward, the UCaas market is likely to see even more drive for customization and personalization as well as the ability to help foster collaboration between companies and customers, partners and resellers. Thanks to UCaaS technology, with a little upfront investment, companies of all sizes will be able to build out their workforce productivity and take their customer support to the outer limits of possible. 

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