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UCaaS Vendors Must Evolve into Business Solutions Providers

By Erik Linask

For several years, the unified communications market has been somewhat fragmented by market, with SMBs rapidly adopting cloud-based UCaaS offerings, but the enterprise market still sticking to traditional on-premises solutions.  According to Synergy Research, SMB market accounts for nearly 90 percent of UCaaS adoption in a market that is growing at a rate of 29% annually.

But UCaaS continues to grow and erode traditional models, and Frost & Sullivan projects that UC services revenues will increase from 59.9% of the market last year to 66.5% of total market revenue by 2020.  Consequently, platform and endpoint revenues are expected to see reciprocal declines. 

Change is afoot, however, as the enterprise market begins to shift its UC model and starts leaning towards cloud solutions.  Not surprisingly, enterprise adoption is being driven by simplified IT management, security needs, support for global and mobile workforces, and cost-effective scalability, but many legacy solutions are also reaching end of life, which is forcing  enterprises to seek new solutions, and cloud is winning.  In fact, last year, enterprise UCaaS subscriber growth outpaced the SMB market, increasing 57%, while the mid-market segment grew 36 percent, with the small business segment coming in at 23%. 

As competition heats up, both for the larger enterprise accounts as well as more advanced SMBs and MSPs, differentiation and a new range of value-added services is necessary for providers to continue to grow revenues. 

“Advanced solutions such as AI, software-defined networking (SDN), and Internet of Things (Iota) are emerging crucial purchase factors,” said Robert Arnold, Principal Analyst, and Digital Transformation at Frost & Sullivan.  “Therefore, organizations are adopting Anything-as-a-Service (Axis) capabilities so they can consume advanced functionality more affordably.”

In addition to leveraging these growing trends, emerging growth opportunities lie in several areas that providers need to recognized and leverage.

  • Developing a broader communications and IT services portfolio, and employing a more consultative approach and broader partner ecosystem that will be keys to provider success.
  • Focusing on pricing, packaging, feature/functionality, and business models to vie against disruptive new players and evolution within the existing UC&C industry that are leading to accelerated innovation and fierce competition.
  • Expanding portfolios through M&A and internal development, and offering UCaaS, contact center, team spaces, and multimedia conferencing to shorten the sales cycles and provide more value to business customers.
  • Delivering security and reliability, as well as aligning UC&C with customer business strategies.
  • Innovating unique business models and architectures to fill market gaps.

The ability to create stickiness in their offering lies in hybrid solutions that combine UC&C with other offerings, including automation, AI, workflow integration, team collaboration, video conferencing, Capes, and more.  It’s no longer simply about offering unified communications, but about delivering integrated business solutions.

These topics will be at the heart of the conversations at the TechSuperShow in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, February 12-14, 2020.  Featuring ITEXPO, SD-WAN Expo, The Future of Work, AIOps Expo, MSP Expo, IoT Evolution, Open Source World, and The Blockchain Event, the TechSuperShow will bring together experts and practitioners across all of the technologies businesses are looking to leverage in their digital transformation journeys.  If you have a story to tell about how these technologies are changing the face of business, we want to hear from you.




Edited by Maurice Nagle

Group Editorial Director

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