How The Cloud Makes Collaboration Work
When Frost & Sullivan recently surveyed more than 1,000 IT decision makers in the U.S. and Europe, one of their biggest concerns about unified communications and collaboration tools focused on cost and complexity. More than half of all respondents say that complying with new regulatory requirements is a challenge that’s driving up IT costs, followed by managing multi-vendor solutions and supporting new business needs.
The cost of new regulatory requirements is borne more by U.S. companies, especially by those in financial services and healthcare. The impact of supporting new business needs (e.g., a distributed workforce) is more significantly felt by IT decision makers in the U.S.; larger organizations; and companies in the financial and healthcare sectors. Managing multi-vendor solutions is a challenge for almost everyone who participated in the survey.
These challenges are compelling businesses to consolidate and integrate their disparate platforms and applications or switch to single-vendor communications solutions. One of the best ways to accomplish these goals is to move communications and collaboration applications to the cloud. Forty-three percent of organizations are using cloud-based Unified Communications & Collaboration (UCC) services today; that is expected to increase by 25 percent over the next three years.
Frost & Sullivan research showed in 2013, the North American hosted IP telephony and UCC services user base grew by 30.5 percent to reach 5.0 million users, adding 1.2 million net new users since year end 2012. Revenues (including hosted applications and calling minutes, but excluding access charges) also grew at a healthy rate of 32.9 percent as demand increased and average revenues per user remained relatively stable. Market growth will remain steady from 2013 to 2020, at compound annual growth rates of 27.4 percent in terms of installed users and 29.2 percent in terms of revenues (excluding access). Even though growth rates will gradually decline year-over-year due to the larger installed base, the number of annual net new users will increase consistently throughout the forecast period.
Almost three quarters of IT decision makers say that cloud computing is highly effective, and there are many reasons for why they continue to see significant value from the delivery model.
Why IT Decision Makers Love The Cloud:
- Ease of managing multiple sites - Few businesses can afford to have IT staff at all their corporate offices and home-office locations. Cloud solutions make it easy to deploy and manage UCC to and from anywhere.
- Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity - With more natural and man-made disastersaffecting operations, businesses are looking to the cloud to protect their investments, and keep them up and running under any conditions, thanks to providers’ redundant and off-site infrastructure.
- Cost savings - IT decision makers often say that reducing capital expenses and moving to an OPEX model, in which prices are consistent but payable on a monthly or quarterly basis, is a leading factor in their decision to move to the cloud.
- Reduced IT budgets - As businesses continue to feel pressure on their technology spending, they are looking at cloud-based UCC services to deliver cutting-edge capabilities without requiring new skills or other IT resources. By partnering with a cloud provider that can deliverbest-in-class service and support, companies can free up their own employees to focus on strategic initiatives that are core to their business.
- Rapid time to deployment - Today’s businesses move at the speed of light. Cloud-based solutions can be up and running in minutes or hours; ensure all users are always on the latest version of the software; and are easy to configure for new users and use cases.
- Flexibility and scalability - Cloud-based UCC services make it easy and cost effective for companies of all sizes to add and remove new employees as needed, in any location, and on any network or device. This supports seasonal staffing and enables quick response to growth.
Cloud-based UCC solutions deliver myriad benefits to businesses wrestling with new regulatory requirements, new business needs, and managing multi-vendor environments. Cloud solutions deliver leading-edge capabilities without the need for much, if any, up-front investment; are easy to deploy to all employees, including remote and satellite workers; and offer 24/7 management and support, allowing IT staff to focus on their companies’ core business.