UCaaS is growing as more and more organizations look to take advantage of improved agility, access to new collaboration features, and reduce costs by shifting their unified communications platforms to the cloud. As a result, UCaaS offerings are rapidly expanding both from traditional service providers looking to expand their business portfolios as well as from over-the-top software-as-a-service vendors building their UCaaS offerings from scratch. Succeeding in this growing, and increasingly competitive market, means successfully aligning your offerings with buyer demand.
Nemertes Research has tracked the UCaaS market since 2012. We find that after a relatively flat period of growth through 2014, adoption began to spike. More than half of organizations are likely to adopt UCaaS by the end of 2018 and now larger companies are starting to shift to the cloud.
Drivers for UCaaS adoption are rapidly evolving as well. What was primarily a discussion around cost savings has now changed as IT buyers seek to leverage the cloud to enable faster response to changing business need, quickly take advantage of new collaboration features, and shift IT resources away from maintaining on-premises servers and instead have them focus on digital transformation and supporting strategic business initiatives.
To successfully compete, UCaaS providers must focus on five distinct areas: Integrations, emerging capabilities, reducing customer TCO, minimizing operating TCO, and providing a reliable and secure service.
Today’s UC users expect to be able to place calls from within the apps they use every day and the corporate directory. They don’t want to have to ‘alt-tab’ to a phone app, or worse, dial a number into the keypad of a desktop phone, to reach a colleague or co-worker. They want the ability to text chat, and easily escalate that chat into a web conference or videoconference, whether with one colleague or an entire team, on or off the corporate network. UCaaS services must provide the means for workers to communicate and collaborate from within any application, from any location, and on any device.
IT leaders look to the cloud to save money on capital and maintenance expenses while better aligning IT costs with actual need. But, they are often constrained by cost equations that show higher costs for cloud compared to continuing to operate fully depreciated on-premises systems. These buyers need confidence that cloud can ultimately reduce costs while providing the aforementioned business and productivity benefits.
UCaaS operators need to focus on minimizing their own operating costs as well to effectively compete with both service providers and over-the-top providers. They must also provide services that feature high up-times (at least four 9s but ideally five 9s), as well as high-quality voice and video services along with the ability to proactively and reactively identify and mitigate issues as quickly as possible. And, they must ensure that their services are secure from a growing litany of threats.
UCaaS providers that deliver innovative new features at a low cost, with high reliability and security, will have the greatest chance at market success. Those who fail to address all of these areas will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage and will be unable to achieve growth in a rapidly expanding market.
Fill out a form to request both a copy of Irwin Lazar’s related issue paper “Five Ways to Grow Your UCaaS Business” and access to a webinar recording on the same topic.