Many times change happens more slowly than predicted in the short run, but faster than predicted in the long run. Business communication has followed this paradigm. The hosted PBX market was predicted to be a multi-billion dollar market in 2005 by many of the leading analysts. The relatively small and scattered early providers bet as much as they could on users pushing for services like Unified Messaging as key drivers for the predicted massive growth that always seemed just around the corner. The multi-billion dollar business opportunity has finally materialized, albeit a decade or more lately, and for reasons that extend far beyond features like Unified Messaging.
Adoption has grown due to factors outside of the communication and collaboration world, as well as for reasons directly created by the industry itself. The early days of growth were primarily driven by small businesses, while enterprise adoption lagged. This trend significantly changed when the cross industry trend towards embracing the cloud took off. Additionally, providers started to understand that businesses were looking for a broader spectrum of core services that allowed their users to truly collaborate, not just communicate.
Leading providers are now delivering services that work cross-cloud, providing ways to collaborate with included tools, as well as with market leading cloud services like Salesforce, Box, Dropbox, and Webex. The combination of services can now be consumed on mobile devices, tablets, PC’s, and even the good old desk phone. The core products are well seasoned and have deep product sets across a very wide spectrum of workloads. This evolution has allowed customers to get more out of each investment because the cloud products work with each other, and not in isolation. This is the Unified Communications and Collaboration dream coming true.
The current state of business collaboration is one that provides great flexibility, low costs, and improved production for the consumers. Specialty tools are available to replicate and enhance live office interactions, virtually. One-on-one, one-to-few, group collaboration and large group presentations can now effectively be replicated by single products or a combination of multiple products. The options are abundant, and there is a wide spectrum of quality experienced by customers. The critical component to a successful outcome is finding a resource that can understand requirements, drive a quality evaluation process and deliver the appropriate set of product(s) for any specific business collaboration challenge.
Written by: Bob Barnes, VP of Sales Operations