Starting as an innovation in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) space in 2006, Unified Communications & Collaboration (UC&C) and now Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) have become an integral part of businesses. Their adoption is primarily driven by enabling quick decision making and improving collaboration across multi-geographic teams, increasing productivity and efficiency.
A recent survey by Ovum, an independent analyst and consultancy firm, has revealed that the uptake rate for UC&C has been accelerating, fueled by demand for scalability, agility and productivity. The survey, comprising 1,300 businesses globally, found that nearly 80% of businesses have plans to implement at least some form of UC&C in the next two years. Of this, more than 90% have a dedicated budget to back up their UC&C plans. As penetration of UC&C applications increases, businesses will begin to see similar uptake rates for UCaaS.
SMBs Most Penetrated at 20-25%
As per Gartner, small businesses (less than 100 employees) have the highest penetration of UCaaS, at 20-25%, as of 2015. They are followed by medium businesses (100-999 employees) and large businesses or enterprises (1,000 or more employees) at 10-15% and 5% respectively.
SMBs are early adopters of UCaaS as they usually do not have the extensive budgets to provide for their own enterprise-level network and dedicated IT teams. Here, UCaaS comes into the picture filling in the need of having an efficient communication infrastructure at a low cost while still rendering the cool features that a big enterprise has by maintaining its own communication system.
Apart from being an “all in one” communication solution, UCaaS encompasses a vivid range of other benefits to businesses enabling anytime-anywhere mobility, telepresence and ubiquitous communications. Messaging/chat, web collaboration, reporting, backups, automated updates, email, fax, voice and video conferencing , desktop sharing, group collaboration, telecommuting – are all advantages that businesses of all sizes benefit from without feeling a pinch in terms of cost. UCaaS does not require any onsite hardware or upfront maintenance costs resulting in low or no capital expenses. Upgrades are automatic and new features are included as they come online. Minimal IT support or training is needed which further aids in saving cost.
On-demand Scalability Draws the Crowd for UCaaS
One major advantage of the cloud based solution is on-demand scalability. The phone system can scale with ease and in no time as the business needs, whether it means adding more employees or downsizing. An SMB may not have the luxury of having a big office space, so the cloud-based scalability is a great advantage for the growth of business.
While on-premise PBX and UC solution still provides more control to the business and is a primary choice for many, UCaaS has evolved to transform the way businesses work. SMBs have proved that UCaaS is the tried and tested cloud-based solution that provides convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable resources from anywhere on the globe with barely any management effort.
New Mobility Trends Drive Enterprises to Implement UCaaS
Likewise, while enterprises may have the lowest penetration rate of 5% for UCaaS as of 2015, they represent the fastest growing business segment with growth estimates of 40-45% according to Gartner. Enterprises are hot beds for mobility trends such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), work-life integration and collaborative consumption. With UCaaS vendors continuously innovating their solutions to improve business processes, agility, security and robustness, an increasing number of enterprises are now embracing this cloud-based model for communications.
The stage for next-generation communications is set; UCaaS is ready for prime time; and enterprises are the ones leading the change.