Organizations continue to select a single vendor for their Unified Communications (UC) environments, as it offers a more-consistent user experience, and a lower TCO than maintaining integration with several competing suppliers. However, taking into account how user requirements may differ, it is equally important to consider integration and interoperability, where a multivendor environment is still required.
The Indian UC and collaboration market is growing steadily year-over-year. 6Wresearch projects the market to grow at a CAGR of over 12 percent during 2017–2023.
Enterprises of all sizes need UC and collaboration technology and solutions that improve employee efficiency and effectiveness, workforce mobility, customer service – and ultimately competitiveness. UC and collaboration help simplify the proliferation of everyday technologies – audio conferencing, web conferencing, video conferencing, unified messaging, instant messaging, presence, and more. Integrated voice, video, and data, enable users to communicate and enjoy collaboration in real time, in the mode best suited to each interaction. This eliminates inefficiencies in communications to make small, midsize, or enterprise businesses more productive and responsive. It helps to improve decision making and accelerate business processes, while providing opportunities to reduce communications and operating expense. Embedding communications into business applications and processes, also referred as Communication Enabled Business Processes can create competitive advantage by increasing the responsiveness of the enterprise and removing latency from business processes.
UC and collaboration solutions have emerged as cost saving solutions providing effective collaboration thereby increasing productivity and better ROIs. Additionally, attributed to government initiatives toward Digital India, end users are investing toward the deployment of UC solutions, predominantly Ministries of India, Public Sector Units (PSUs), banking institutions, and education institutions.
While voice remains the primary means of communication, however, video-based UC registered the maximum market share in terms of revenues. With rising adoption of video conferencing across all major verticals, it is expected that video-based UC would dominate the market over the coming years.
In terms of verticals, Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI) registered highest contribution in UC and collaboration market followed by education, government and public utilities, and other areas. Furthermore, the rising demand of IP and VoIP telephony in telecom and IT, travel and hospitality, and logistic and transportation industries serves as a significant driving factor.
The consumer goods and retail sector may offer significant opportunities to the UC market size over the next few years. The technology helps retail outlets to update the business procedures by empowering rapid real-time services and quicker transaction closures. Cloud-based UC applications ensure organizations to eradicate wealth spending and adopt an operational cost prototype which enables them to pay based on the required capacity.
UC technology provides scalability and flexibility coupled with the high availability for essential business tasks. Implementation of the technology in businesses has been amplified due to the numerous advantages associated with it including cost-efficiency, pay as per use and requirement, and reduced travelling time. Furthermore, it has eradicated the drawback of synchronous functions of geographically dispersed regions.
The capability of accommodating multiple functionalities of communication system on a single platform makes telephony an essential tool in the business environment. The telephony technology is expected to boost the UC market size due to its compatibility with automated transfer of fax, voice, or other information.
Global Market Insights, Inc. has forecast the global UC market to hit USD 96 billion by 2023, with rising demand in the enterprise sector being the key driver. This can be attributed to the ability of the technology to deliver real-time communication services required for critical business operations. Enterprises are installing new solutions along with updating their existing telephony or messaging infrastructure. The trend is predicted to drive the UC market size due to the rising need to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs. Industry players include Microsoft Corporation, Avaya Inc, Alcatel-Lucent, and Cisco Systems, NEC Corporation, Siemens, and ShoreTel, among others. The industry participants are focusing on frequent mergers and acquisitions to gain prominence in the UC market.
Some Universal Trends
- Hosted UC market size is anticipated to witness significant growth over the next couple of years. The advantages associated with these products such as rapid implementation, automated upgrades, and scalability will drive demand in the coming years. Furthermore, development of cloud technology systems is expected to boost the UCaaS market
- Enterprises dominated as of 2016–2017, occupying nearly 60 percent of the UC market revenue, which can be credited to the increasing adoption for enhancing business processes and advantages offered by UC systems such as mobility
- Government applications will exhibit considerable growth prospects due to escalating adoption of the technology to accommodate the needs of citizens pertaining to the permit processing and public safety. These solutions enable governments to efficiently deal with the emergencies and crisis conferencing
- Asia-Pacific is anticipated to witness significant growth at a CAGR of nearly 15 percent over the next eight years. Increasing demand for mobility is driving the demand for advanced UC systems across the region. Furthermore, the huge population base is anticipated to offer favorable opportunities for the Indian and Chinese UC market share
A Gartner Study
Gartner evaluates vendors of enterprise UC solutions that are intended for on-premises deployment by midsize and large organizations and clocks the results in a Magic Quadrant. Its recent release has assessed nine vendors. And all of the nine vendors have all of the core UC capabilities of telephony, meeting solutions, instant messaging and presence, clients across desktop, conference room and mobile devices, and integration options with contact center and other applications.
Changes to the ways people work together are redefining how application leaders are assessing the product capabilities of their UC providers. As a result, they are seeking broader solutions including cloud-based collaboration services.
- Due to the changing nature of work, application leaders are looking for UC solutions that support their employees’ need to collaborate from anywhere, at any time, and from any device
- On-premises UC solutions have reached a high degree of maturity. Most of the innovation seen over the past year is due to integration with cloud-based workstream collaboration services using a hybrid deployment model
- Businesses migrating away from legacy PBX systems are typically looking for broader UC suites that include essential voice, messaging, video, and meeting solutions, as well as integration into contact center solutions, all from a single vendor
- Larger enterprises with stringent voice and video requirements typically prefer traditional on-premises UC solutions due to a greater sense of control over quality and performance
- Small and midsize companies are finding that cloud-based UC services are increasingly competitive with current on-premises solutions
When evolving their enterprise communications strategy in order to meet the expectations of today’s digital workplace, application leaders responsible for UC should:
- Determine if a single UC vendor can deliver all the capabilities required – or if a multivendor solution is necessary – by embarking on a discovery exercise based on user analysis
- Address the demand for collaboration with external parties by evaluating hybrid solutions that combine on-premises UC deployments with cloud-based meeting solutions
- Select a contact center solution first when customer service is an important part of your business operations. The contact center solution can influence your purchasing choices on the UC suite
- Encourage adoption of innovative technologies by implementing a bimodal IT approach to managing current-generation UC solutions and the emerging next generation of workstream collaboration tools
Application leaders responsible for UC solutions are increasingly challenged to use UC investments to support and enhance digital workplace initiatives. UC solutions are typically offered as a suite of communication and collaboration technologies that support both traditional functionality (such as telephony, messaging, and conferencing) and more-innovative capabilities (like workstream collaboration, immersive video endpoints, and mobile VoIP).
Organizations should continue to select an anchor vendor for their UC environments, because this will offer a more-consistent user experience, and have a lower total cost of ownership than maintaining integration with several competing suppliers. However, taking into account how user requirements may differ, it is equally important to consider integration and interoperability, where a multivendor environment is still required.
The unified communications and collaboration market is in a rapid state of transition. A sweeping shift to services-based solutions and greater for integration and customization capabilities are encouraging broader adoption. Market traction is expected to further accelerate as end user organizations recognize UCC as essential elements of their of digital transformation initiatives.