Cloud PBX and collaboration has surged – but there’s still a long way to go – get ready for mass migration and alignment with 5G

Cloud PBX and collaboration has surged – but there’s still a long way to go – get ready for mass migration and alignment with 5G

As everyone knows, cloud PBX communication and collaboration has surged. It’s easy to imagine that this now dominates business voice – but it's not as simple as that, yet. More than 50% of the market remains tied to on-premise solutions. But not for long – so, operators need to act now to gain traction and to leverage new 5G capabilities.

Cloud is winning, but still has <50% of the market

Surging adoption of cloud PBX and collaboration services has, rightly, captured headlines in both industry and mass media publications. We all know that the shift to remote working has been a huge catalyst in accelerating this trend. However, despite the evidence of this, recorded in new market forecasts and in operating results from some of the prominent players, it’s often overlooked that there’s a long way to go.

Industry analysts Wainhouse Research, for example, notes that on-premise solutions still dominate the market. Indeed, while cloud solutions have grown rapidly, they will still only account for 40% of the market in 2023[1]. In other words, more than 50% of the market will continue to use on-premise solutions.

And, despite the fact that this segment of the market is declining while cloud is growing rapidly, this situation means that there is still a significant opportunity to deliver replacement services as these solutions edge closer to retirement. The shift to the cloud has captured the headlines, but there is a long, long way to go.

Don’t neglect the huge opportunity to come

There are three important lessons here for operators. First, despite the obvious shift to cloud, most businesses have yet to make the switch. Second, there’s a significant opportunity to capture a bigger share of the enterprise market, which may have an existing strong relationship with operators that provide their connectivity. Third, there’s no time to lose.

Operators need to be ready to help enterprises – of all sizes – with this transition. They need to have an offer that can provide replacement of existing solutions while enabling new integration and additional mobility capabilities.

All of which means that there’s still time to target enterprises with effective offers. But, there’s another consideration. Most cloud systems essentially replicate on-premise functionality, but offer a different operating (and expenditure) model. That’s important, but it’s also important to realise that things are going to change substantially in the next few years – and operators need to think how enterprise communications is also going to evolve during that time period and beyond.

How will new operator delivered comms solutions align with new 5G services?

That’s because a growing number of enterprises will seek to leverage new 5G capabilities for their operations – and communications, both internal and external – will need to be aligned with these investments. So, operators will have to ensure that communications platforms can complement and support these evolving 5G use cases.

This will be essential due to the likely growth in B2B adoption of 5G slices and/or private networks. While many of these will be optimised for specific functions and processes, it seems likely that they will have to integrate with classical business services – like voice and mobility. So, operators need to be ready to ensure that the communications services they offer can complement other 5G services consumed in the enterprise.

Ensure that business communications integrate with other 5G services

And that is a real opportunity. The cloud voice and collaboration providers that have grabbed the headlines are not, on the whole, experts in mobility and 5G. Operators have a key role in delivering and maintaining new 5G connectivity solutions (although not an exclusive role, as will become apparent with the availability of private spectrum) and they also have a role in enabling access between public (macro) and private (micro) cellular networks.

As a result, operators need to act now to capitalise on the eventual migration of all businesses from on-premise to cloud communications, but they must prepare for full integration with other 5G services that are adopted – and to ensure convergence across private and public networks and different slices. That’s quite a challenge!

We’re ready to help. We actively researching the alignment of B2B comms services with new 5G private networks, macro-network handover and service continuity, and the orchestration of cloud communications with new QoS and 5G performance requirements.

These activities will help our operator partners both capitalise from cloud migration and align with new capabilities enabled by 5G. So, if you want to explore how to help your enterprise customers through this transition, why not have a chat with our team?


[1] Wainhouse Research “The Cloud UC Calling Market”, 2019

Cloud PBX, B2B, 5G

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