The Business Communications Revolution
Cloud-based, mobile-first, cost efficient
The Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) market is headed for big growth as more companies’ transition to the cloud and the revolution in business communications builds steam.
In office after office, desktop phones are disappearing as are the on-site hardware systems that run them. Taking the place of these legacy systems are Web-based services that integrate text and voice communications, screen sharing, document editing, video conferencing, contact center capabilities and also route calls to whatever device employees choose, be it smartphones, tablets or laptops.
With the new systems, calls follow people and customers experience one seamless interaction.
Gartner predicts the UCaaS market will be an $18 billion global business by 2019, up from $6 billion last year. Ultimately, we see a $50 billion business communications market that is, so far, only 10% in the cloud.
I predict that in a few years, no one will buy on-premise office telephony equipment anymore, as the same forces that drive adoption of just about any new technology drive this one.
Cost is a big factor. A recent Wall Street Journal article noted that softphone services—in which software that uses the Internet instead of wire transmission to make phone calls—run about $15 a month per employee versus fixed-line phones that cost about $25 a month to operate.
The cloud-based systems increase functionality. Workers, whether on smartphones or tablets, from various time zones, need an integrated, secure communications platform with any-device access. With cloud solutions, Unified Communications (UC) can grow or shrink as needed. New features can be added incrementally and frequently.
Also, with communications tracked in a cloud environment, companies can collect and analyze real-time data. Given integration with other software, such as existing CRM solutions like salesforce.com, companies will also be able to track such things as how long their best sales people spend on calls, how long calls take, etc. This makes communications a strategic investment.
Familiarity is another important factor. The adoption of cloud communications started with consumers, then moved to SMBs. They don’t have the legacy investments that larger companies often do and can move more quickly to new technologies.
Now, Gartner predicts the highest growth rates for UCaaS will come from large businesses, followed by medium-sized businesses. In large enterprises, one line of business often moves first and is a good testbed for others. With CRM and ERP already entrenched in enterprises, communications is next.
The time for enterprise communications is now, and what we call Enterprise Communications as-a-Service (ECaaS) – brings all real time communications and contact center services together in one integrated platform, that’s user-centric, 100% cloud and mobile-first, delivering continuous communications for distributed organizations.
Our announcement today is an important proof point of this. Several leading mid-market and enterprise brands are moving from their legacy on-premise systems to 8x8’s ECaaS solutions.
These and other communications trends will no doubt be a key topic of discussion at the upcoming Enterprise Connect show March 7-10 in Orlando. The event is certain to reflect the buzz and momentum around cloud communications.
We’ll be at the show and making announcements. Hope to see you there.