More than half (51 percent) of businesses are expected to adopt cloud-based unified communications by 2020, surpassing premise-based PBX as businesses of all sizes shift to the cloud for unified communications, team collaboration and contact center services.
That’s according to the BroadSoft 2016 survey, which shows that respondents expect the unified communications as a service (UCaaS)/hosted PBX share of new lines shipped to reach 51 percent by 2020, a 10-percentage point increase from last year’s survey results. The most significant change in optimism for cloud adoption is occurring in the large enterprise segment, where telcos expect 45 percent of large enterprises to adopt UCaaS/hosted PBX by 2020 – a 25 percentage point increase from last year’s survey.
“We’ve come to a tipping point because the old PBX systems that powered communications are on their way out and are no longer being replaced or upgraded with like for like,” said Taher Behbehani, chief digital and marketing officer, BroadSoft. “The cloud is viable, broadband can accommodate it, the PBX vendors are no longer around and workers need more mobility. All of this points towards cloud adoption. We are finally reaching the stage where technology will help improve the way people work rather than dictate how they should do it.”
While early-stage cloud adoption is typically concentrated in the small business market, the survey finds medium and large enterprise segments rapidly catching up. Survey respondents believe that by 2020, UCaaS/hosted PBX share will increase to:
- Small business segment (<100 employees): 55 percent (up seven percentage points from the 2015 survey)
- Midmarket business segment (100 – 999 employees): 49 percent (up 11 percentage points from the 2015 survey)
- Large enterprise segment (1,000+ employees): 45 percent (up 25 percentage points from the 2015 survey)
And three-quarters (76 percent) of survey respondents also said the cloud makes it easier for enterprises to adopt advanced UC features – contributing to higher customer value and revenue opportunities.
Mobility Integration and Experience are Key Drivers of Cloud UC
While mobility is a key priority for enterprises, the user experience of real-time unified communications on mobile delivered over-the-top (OTT) has not quite kept pace. For this reason, native mobile integration – which delivers an integrated mobile experience within the device’s native mobile dialer – has emerged as a key user experience driver for businesses. About 89 percent of survey respondents believe that native mobile integration is an important requirement for mobile solutions. At the same time, results show over 90 percent of UC business users will require mobile integration – an opportunity for telcos in 2017 to deliver a superior native end-to-end mobile business experience.
Cloud Contact Center Momentum
Along with UC, contact center solutions are also rapidly shifting to the cloud. By 2020, survey participants forecast that 43 percent of contact center seats will be cloud based. And 84 percent of survey respondents also consider predictive analytics functionality to be important to end-users, suggesting businesses will increasingly seek analytics-based cloud contact center solutions that integrate with UC and team collaboration applications to enhance the customer experience.
Team Collaboration is Key Business User Requirement
Team collaboration is emerging as a key opportunity for telecom providers, a notable trend as enterprise messaging apps gain traction in the enterprise. Also, 78 percent said team collaboration is an important end user requirement in their respective markets, while 95 percent believe integrating team collaboration into their UCaaS offers represents a significant business opportunity.
Behbehani added, “Our survey also indicates the threat landscape has changed. Telcos increasingly view OTT UCaaS vendors as a threat, and are less concerned with premise and niche SaaS vendors. Telcos able to deliver a complete solution that integrates UC with contact center and team collaboration can differentiate their offering – not only from OTT UCaaS upstarts, but from leading global IT and consumer brands as well.”