Unified communications as a service (UCaaS), a subcategory of software as a service (SaaS), which service providers utilize deliver software products through the web. Numerous organizations, primarily small-scale businesses, leverage UCaaS to minimize the capital and spending on operational expenses on local servers. Moreover, convenience and lower cost of outsourcing services is another strong growth driver since the cost of purchasing hardware setups for unified communications is generally higher.
UCaaS Find Growth Avenues, as Remote Working Culture Gains Prominence amid Pandemic
On the application end, unified communications as a service provides a wide range of service packages to the users, such as messaging tools, video conferencing tools, and supportive resources for various kinds of text and voice communications. The COVID-19 pandemic is offering lucrative revenue opportunities as organizations across the globe adopt remote working, cloud-based enterprise communications that seem to be the ideal choice to provide consistent user experience for remote and mobile workers, as access to UCaaS features remain accessible irrespective of the individual user's location.
Diverse Options to Choose from
UCaaS users have the option to choose from single-tenancy systems and multi-tenancy systems. Under the single-tenancy approach, users are provided with a unique dedicated, customized software platform that can be integrated with on-premises applications. This approach is considered safer and reliable, as each user's data is stored separately. Owing to this facet, in case one particular user faces technical issues, the data of other users stays safe. However, the single-tenancy systems are expensive and users have to bear the upgrade costs.
On the other hand, users opting for multi-tenancy systems share a common software platform. Contrary to the single-tenancy approach, this is cost-effective with better support and redundancy. The services are hosted in the UCaaS provider's common data center, and the provider releases software upgrades together for all the users. On the flip side, the multi-tenancy approach leaves less space for customization and has limited flexibility as compared to the single-tenancy approach.
In addition to the aforementioned approaches, companies can also choose a hybrid approach, that allows them to store a portion of their unified communications (UC) on local drives and the remaining applications in the cloud. Generally, companies store highly confidential data on their local drives for security and management reasons. The hybrid approach also enables companies to migrate their data from cloud to local or vis-a-versa before reaching end-of-life.
SMEs Remain Primary Revenue Drivers
When UCaaS gained prominence in 2014, small-scale businesses were among the early adopters of cloud-based technologies. The adoption of UCaaS in the small scale business segment is primarily driven by the lack of workforce and resources to maintain and support unified communications on-premises. Gradually, large enterprises are also beginning to use UCaaS to streamline their communication services and to support multiple or global locations.
The presence of UCaaS in an organization provides greater scalability and flexibility for communication channels that involve a high number of people. With UCaaS in place, processes such as adding and removing users - mainly seasonal and temporary employees - can be performed smoothly without any major changes to the infrastructure.
Telephony and Conferencing Applications Remain Favorite Among SMEs
Among the solutions provided, the telephony and conferencing segment find high adoption owing to the high necessity for communication in organizations. The demand will further be catalyzed in the second and 3rd quarters of 2020 on the back of the pandemic. On the other hand, collaboration platforms & applications segment will also experience remarkable demand backed by its inherent benefits, such as security and low dependence on multiple vendors for UCaaS deployment.
Players across the globe are pitching telephony and conferencing as the main product owing to high demand among small and medium enterprises. Large scale enterprises across the world are gradually adopting UCaaS systems and since these companies employ a large number of mobile workers. With the number of Small & Medium scale Enterprises increasing year on year, the demand for UCaaS will remain high in the future.
COVID 19 Outbreak Fueling Adoption
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to explode in several countries, companies have requested employees to work from home, as a way to keep their workflow unhindered. The remote working culture is altering existing modes of communication, as the most popular mode of communication, face to face interaction taking a back seat for the time being. Understanding the circumstances, organizations are inclining towards virtual collaborations, and adoption of UCaaS will witness a sharp rise on the back of remote access.
Undoubtedly, the pandemic is reshaping working cultures across the world. On a positive note, UCaaS is enabling organizations to meet their requirements during this unforeseen scenario. Although a one-stop solution is not currently in place to fit the needs of remotely-working employees, individual software instead of an all-inclusive suite can empower remote users with the best of the virtual collaboration experience. For instance, tools such as Microsoft Teams, WebEx Teams, etc. are gaining tremendous traction by enabling virtual onboarding and digital interactions.
A vast number of employees have gone remote. We are expecting a fundamental shift in work. A virtual workplace is no more an optional space. We, at HCL Technologies, are best prepared with a cloud-first vision and a reimagined operating model to support our customers globally.
UcaaS Market - Key Players
Major players in the UCaaS market have risen to the occasion by providing their cloud-based services free of cost to individuals and enterprises. Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365 announced that their 'Teams' feature will be provided for all end users holding a Microsoft 365 license.
Cisco WebEx, an American company that develops and sells web conferencing and videoconferencing applications, released a list of countries across APEJ, Europe, and the Americas where their services will be free. Likewise, Zoom has offered Video conferencing tools to K-12 schools for free.
By Organization Size
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