Unified communications and collaboration continued to grow in 2020

Unified communications and collaboration continued to grow in 2020

UC adoption surged in 2020, representing an irreversible trend. How can service providers capitalise on this trend, while recognising the need to co-exist with cloud-based platform providers?

COVID-driven surge changed the business collaboration environment

Analyst firm IDC has announced the latest update in its ongoing coverage of the worldwide unified communications and collaboration market, reporting revenue growth of more than 25% year-on-year. Moreover, quarterly revenue reached $11.5 billion in the second quarter of 2020.

According to IDC, this was driven – unsurprisingly – by the impact of COVID-19, but it’s also clearly reflective of the ongoing adoption of such tools and their integration into the workplace that has taken place in recent years. Irrespective of the ongoing pandemic, this trend is sure to continue.

Of course, this surge reflects the move to distributed and collaborative working, but the speed of adoption also reflects the fact that barriers to adoption have lowered. Enterprise customers that spent time working out which solution they should use, or how to include in their security policies found themselves rather overtaken by events. Many individual users simply adopted tools, discovered they were easy to use and incorporated them into their daily routines. The IT departments are still catching up.

Cloud platforms have taken market share – but service providers can still benefit

All of this means that many service providers have been bypassed to some extent. The most successful of these tools are delivered from cloud-based platforms and have little to do with the service portfolio operators offer. Service providers need to look at this surge of activity and work out how they can capitalise on it. Here are three options to consider.

First, launch your own solution. Make sure you have a robust platform in your portfolio. However, there’s no guarantee that users will flock to your collaboration platform when they have already embraced others.

So, second, provide an integrated experience. This is a tactic that some of our customers are pursuing. What they seek to achieve is integration between multiple platforms, so that customers can access different solutions from their existing corporate or business communications platform. We’ve enabled integration from the virtual office environment to a number of different solutions, allowing business users to use existing tools, numbers and services alongside alternative collaboration platforms.

Third, address security. Help enterprises to protect networks by offering managed services that extend beyond the traditional enterprise boundary to the new distributed environment. Of course, many larger enterprises are taking steps to protect their remote users, but smaller companies may not have sufficient resources to do this. As a result, they may look to the service provider partners to help them as part of the fixed, mobile and broadband packages they buy.

Learn from market leaders, powered by Gintel

Many service providers have sat and watched while new collaboration platforms have entered the market. Few have seized the opportunity to build on their established relationships and to add value with new communications services. Our customers have not stood back. They have achieved leadership in their markets, or with their chosen segments, because they have understood that UC is here to stay.

A key lesson from 2020, though, is that people will choose different UC platforms, according to different needs. You can’t convert all users to a single platform. We must recognise that multiple platforms will co-exist – and herein lies the opportunity to service providers. They can provide seamless convergence between different platforms, while augmenting their existing business communications services and tools.

Why not talk to us and find out how?

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