The global market for Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is growing at a phenomenal rate. By 2028, Fortune Business Insights predicts the industry will be worth $69.93 billion. Crucially however, it’s not just smaller businesses leveraging the power of cloud communications today.
Since the pandemic began in 2020, businesses of all sizes have rapidly been shifting into the cloud for business continuity and growth. With offices and other establishes worldwide relying more heavily on remote and hybrid work, companies of all sizes are discovering cloud is the key to keeping team members connected.
According to one report by Synergy Research Group, the explosion of the UCaaS market is thanks in large part to the number of large enterprises transitioning from legacy PBX systems into a more flexible, scalable, and agile cloud.
While demand for UCaaS technology has been increasing consistently for some time, the pandemic accelerated the need for a more distributed solution for communications. For years, larger enterprise companies have relied on legacy, hardware-focused PSTN technology for business communications. However, these tools require people to be present and within the office to access them.
UCaaS, or Unified Communications as a Service, creates a more flexible environment, where users can access business telephony features through remote devices, smartphones, and applications, via connections on the cloud.
This flexible environment will be essential when team members are growing increasingly distributed, even post-pandemic. According to Microsoft’s recent report, 70% of workers want flexible work opportunities to continue when pandemic restrictions begin to diminish. To enable this kind of work, all companies – even larger enterprises – will require a cloud-focused strategy.
While the initial transition away from legacy structures and into hybrid, or fully cloud-focused environments may be time-consuming and complex, the long-term benefits are significant.
Orion Research indicates that features such as easy integration, expanding compatibility, and low cost of ownership in the UCaaS sector will drive the market to achieve a CAGR of almost 25% in the years ahead. Notably, UCaaS solutions will also ensure larger enterprises can future-proof their businesses against the risk of further lockdowns, while attracting talent from all over the globe.
UCaaS also has the potential to reduce costs and expand opportunities in an enterprise space. Companies can pay for their technology on an as-needed basis, allowing them to scale up and down according to specific changes in demand. The flexibility of UCaaS is part of the reason why strategic consulting firm, Metrigy, believes 70% of businesses will be using UCaaS solutions by 2023.
Following an evaluation of 476 organizations across 11 countries in 2021, Metrigy discovered 47.3% of companies were already using UCaaS technology – the highest rate since 2016.
For many larger enterprise companies and brands with existing legacy investments in technology, the last couple of years have been an important wake-up call. Companies without an existing investment in digital solutions for communications have struggled to survive the changes prompted by the pandemic. UCaaS has emerged as the solution required to address the emerging needs of a distributed workforce, and rising customer expectations.
To further boost the appeal of a cloud-based communications future, UC platform providers are also adding new, innovative features to their usual solutions for collaboration and telephony. Many companies are now tapping into the added benefits of things like AI chatbots, end-to-end analytics, and even automation, to enhance workplace productivity.
All cloud-based platforms, including UCaaS creations, will also become increasingly compelling as further technology arrives within the marketplace. APIs have already begun to enable flexible innovation and integration for enterprise companies with specific needs and unique requirements.
The growth of SD-WAN, 5G, and edge networking has also opened the door for exciting innovations in the real-time communication sector for many vendors. With stronger security, easier positioning, and a wider set of managed service tools, UCaaS will offer a space for limitless innovation in communication. This opportunity for innovation will be further enhanced by growing consolidation among forward-thinking brands.
As new companies continue to join forces, we’re seeing an increase in the number of investments being made into powerful new tools for enterprise customers.
As contracts with legacy equipment providers reach their end, enterprise companies will need to think carefully about how they’re going to prepare for a rapidly-changing future in communications. If the last couple of years have proven anything, it’s that companies need to be agile, adaptable, and flexible to survive. For enterprise brands, this means an inevitable move to the cloud.
Currently, we’re seeing an influx of larger companies moving to the cloud environment, some with phased migrations, and others with full rip-and-replace strategies. Either way, most companies already realise that cloud technology is key to their continued growth.