Most of us think of the small and medium business (SMB) market when we think of hosted UC (UCaaS). In fact, Cisco recently came out with a report saying that 86% of SMBs were actively testing, planning on implementing or had already deployed UCaaS. There were signs that SMB dominance was poised to change when last year’s Gartner Magic Quadrant for UCaaS threw us a curveball and went global. They did so to show some separation between businesses and solutions that were ready and able to execute on a global scale (i.e. those companies that could support multi-national companies) and those that weren’t there yet (or never planned on going there). But are big businesses really ready to scrap their existing infrastructure and move the communications to the cloud? According to Enzo Signore, the Chief Marketing Officer at UCaaS Magic Quadrant ‘leader’ 8X8 the answer is increasingly yes. “It’s very exciting to watch how quickly UCaaS is moving from the SMB market to the enterprise,” says Signore. “Large businesses are seeing the transformative value of UCaaS - and doing the cost calculations - and this has led to a significant acceleration in deployments in the last 12 months. Word of mouth is kicking in and the growth is just getting started.”
4 Reasons Enterprise Communications as a Service (ECaaS) is Taking Off
According to Signore, UCaaS (or Enterprise Communications as a Service - ECaaS as 8x8 refers to it) is becoming a consistent part of the discussion for any enterprise looking to update their communications and collaboration backbone. “This has really changed in the last year. The value proposition of moving the entire enterprise communications stack - from telephony, to UC, to mobility to contact center - to a cloud platform is too compelling to ignore.” We discussed four reasons large and multinational businesses are considering making the move:
High Level of Urgency to Update Collaboration Infrastructure
Many large companies are being held captive by their existing PBX infrastructure and a mishmash of collaboration tools that were put in place over time or were a result of acquisitions. This costly, outdated infrastructure means that for most enterprises it is easy to identify opportunities for improved collaboration and cost savings and by shifting to a hosted platform they can accelerate timelines and keep costs low.
“We work with a large, old-school medical company that had outdated systems and processes and still sold with binders of printed catalogs. They looked at UCaaS as a cornerstone to change corporate culture. They used hosted communications to break down barriers, increase collaboration and improve the sales and customer service process ,” explained Signore. “Being able to deploy a turnkey, highly capable system in weeks can help a company leapfrog a long, difficult and expensive project of trying to update existing systems.”
Mobility and Untethered Working is Vital
With so many remote and untethered workers, having a system that can provide a consistent, seamless, mobile experience is critical not only for corporate collaboration, but also for branding and customer care. Being able to deploy a single system to all employees, regardless of location, means that all employees - even at home workers and salespeople on the road - can have the same experience as office workers regardless of location or the device they are using.
Eliminating the Upgrading Hassle
With large, traditional telecom solutions, likely including different PBX and phone systems at each location, just keeping existing solutions up to date is a major effort. According to Signore, it is a challenge that is consistently raised early in discussions with customers. “Enterprises are often a few releases behind when it comes to updating their existing solutions. That problem is exacerbated by having to maintain multiple systems and multiple PBX’s at locations with varying levels of IT support. With UCaaS, that challenge disappears.”
Improved Customer Experience
Only 20% of contact centers are currently offering an omni-channel experience for customers. Having a single, integrated communications solution that ties the enterprise together across all locations not only enhances internal productivity, but can also improve the customer experience (which we have been talking a lot about recently). “Six of our ten largest deals with enterprise customers have been for UC and Contact Center at the same time,” says Signore. “Being able to deploy an integrated solution globally is very appealing to them and they’ve been telling us that this approach is driving significant and ongoing opportunities across the company.”
Global Capability is Key Issue for Large, Multinational Businesses Considering UCaaS
There are table stakes for any UCaaS platform if they want to be considered by a large company. Things like a rock solid network, security, scalability, redundancy and an API library for integration with enterprise applications are must haves. But when it comes to winning enterprise business, being able to deliver on a global basis is going to be the next battleground, according to Signore. “It is one thing to have a capable platform, but in discussions with multi-national companies the conversation quickly turns to global concerns and the funnel of potential providers shrinks very quickly when international support and capacity comes up.”
Global issues that often arise during discussions include:
- Data Centers or POPs around the globe
- Local number portability
- Ability to provide local numbers
- Access to toll free numbers
- Streamlined global session routing (always defining best session routing regardless of user location)
- Ability to manage and support various governmental regulations
- International support (available around the clock)
- Localization of product and documentation
Currently few businesses are capable of delivering all of these services in multiple regions around the world. This may be one of the concerns that will keep UCaaS sales in the enterprise from growing exponentially in the short-term. Are you part of a large business that is considering UCaaS / ECaaS? What are your requirements. What are your challenges when it comes to planning for deployment across your locations and multinationally? Let us know in the comments section below and we’ll pull together some experts to get you the answers.