Business Is Calling: How Will You Answer?

The Future of Communication Systems

Rick Sabarese

Your communications system is the backbone of business success: an always on, robust communications infrastructure is a must-have. For many, however, that means an upgrade or overhaul to take advantage of today’s cloud-based technologies, from VoIP, videoconferencing, and collaboration to software-defined networking, file sharing, and telepresence. Here are a few key data points and some aspects to consider to ensure your communications system will be there when your customers – and staff and partners – come calling.

Regardless of what your next communications platform will be called – i.e. unified communications (UC), unified communications and collaboration (UC&C), UC as a service (UCaaS), or The Next New Acronym to be Designated Later (TNNAtbDL) – the importance of communications has skyrocketed over the last decade, and the growth and pace of change impacting your communications infrastructure continue to accelerate. Some of these sweeping changes include:

  • The Rise of Mobile – There will be 5.5 billion mobile users by 2020, helping drive an 8X increase in mobile data traffic over the next five years.1
  • Cloud Goes Mainstream – More than half (58%) of organizations are using the cloud, up from 24% 14 months ago, driven primarily by improving resource utilization and staff productivity.2
  • SDN Is Hot – Software-defined networking is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 53.9% from 2014 to 2020 and will be worth nearly $12.5 billion in 2020.3
  • UC&C Up, Up, and Away – More than half (56%) of enterprise and 66% of SMB organizations plan to implement or upgrade Unified Communications & Collaboration solutions within the next year.4
  • Downtime Is Costly – Downtime is costing North American organizations $700 billion per year, with organizations averaging 5 downtime events per month, and 27 hours of downtime per month.5

There are a wide variety of deployment options – on premise, managed, hosted, cloud, or hybrid – as well as a number of aspects to consider when determining your next communications system, including:

  • Communication and collaboration applications
  • Organizational criteria for call control
  • End-user profiles
  • Cost savings and benefits
  • Revenue-generating opportunities

Other customer challenges can include:

  • Cost justification
  • Return on investment (ROI)
  • Identifying proper use cases
  • Implementation and support skills, and the integration complexities associated with UC&C deployment projects

Features, total cost of ownership, and ROI are all critical factors when determining your next communication platform, but they are secondary to what should be your first consideration: what business outcomes do you need to ensure success now and in the future. Success “lies in defining ‘business outcomes’ for customers by creating a better, more intuitive user experience through real-time communications, collaboration with context, and integrations with business systems and applications, no matter the location or the device,” said Rich Costello, Senior Research Analyst, IDC’s Unified Communications and Collaboration.6

The good news is that there are a lot of options for addressing your current, emerging ,and future communications requirements. Now all you have to do is decide what’s the best solution, and what’s the best way to realize the benefits of that solution, either on your own, or with a trusted partner like Connection.