Zoom calls, Skype meetings, webinars, and online forums — these have been very common since the break out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Face-to-face communication drastically shifted to virtual as individuals got stuck at home and adapt to the new normal.
To ensure collaboration, productivity, and connection despite the physical distance, cloud communication has been the backbone of businesses digitally. Whether it’s sharing status updates with colleagues, brainstorming an upcoming presentation, or providing vital customer service, a reliable communication infrastructure has been very critical.
Cloud communications cover team messaging, video conferencing, and voice over IP (VoIP) that are accessible from any location and device. Without the actual presence inside offices, meeting rooms and hallways, cloud communication offers tools that can overcome multiple work from home pain points such as streamlining, multiple account management, and complexity.
Drivers of the cloud communications market
“Cloud-based communications emerged as the pre-eminent solution to ensure businesses had sustainable connectivity, and it will stay that way as long as online collaboration remains the predominant way of conducting business in our agile business environment,” said Mikaël Schachne, CMO and VP of mobility and IoT business at BICS.
Initially, businesses integrate the cloud onto their IT services, but as the demand increases, the telecommunications landscape has been transformed as well. As a result, cloud communications became attractive as the cloud not only boosts storage and accessibility but can now become a platform for voice, data and video. Ideally, the cloud communications environment can seamlessly combine different functionalities that make the work simpler to be done.
According to a Frost & Sullivan study, in 2021, COVID-19-related challenges are the main business goal for organizations. This is followed by improving customer experience (CX) and operational efficiencies. In line with the explosive growth in cloud communications and collaboration services during the pandemic, more businesses have moved enterprise telephony (39%) and video conferencing (54%) workloads to the cloud.
In a nutshell, cloud communications is the modern approach to building, deploying, and scaling business communication systems. Expected to be worth $4.45 billion in 2021, this particular market proves the need for communications services to transcend the limitations of traditional systems.
As we look to the future of cloud-based communications, here are some major growth drivers to consider:
- Remote workforce. As the pandemic has clearly shown the world, the current and future state of work won’t be bounded by any location. “Our best estimate is that 25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021,” said Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics. When companies shift to the cloud for all their communication tools, it doesn’t matter where the users are as they can easily access, customize, and share the same experience from anywhere.
- Cost reduction. When utilizing cloud communications, you can select a provider and receive one bill that would be consistent all throughout the subscription period. Instead of having it on-premise, cloud-based communication systems can be outsourced. Many providers have reliable offerings to match the customer requirements. Hence, the expense becomes reasonable and is usually charged at pay-per-use rates. Besides, the on-premise assets businesses own can be incorporated into the cloud as one logical unit; maximizing the usage of all resources.
- Scalability and flexibility. When teams can have an easy gateway to documents anytime from anywhere, the flexibility in work translates to improved productivity. They’re able to do more and better by adapting quickly and efficiently to changing business conditions. Typically, cloud communications systems have a central administrative panel where within a few clicks, you can ramp up the team quickly and delegate tasks swiftly with fewer worries. As the cloud can accommodate more workloads, the scalability of the business is assured to the client.
- Advanced features. Doing online backups and keeping tabs of electronic databases are also driving demand for cloud-based communications. Hence, collaborative features expand and their integration with cloud communications strengthened even further. More innovative cloud communications software that has AI and other smart technologies can offer a real-time, instant, feature-rich suite of web tools. These features make operations prompt, accurate, and systematic.
Cloud meets enterprise: UCaaS
Business continuity during-and-post pandemic highlights the need for robust collaboration-driven tools. These include video conferencing, team virtual spaces, and extensive unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) suites.
“COVID-19 has expedited technology investments for multiple businesses. Adapting to new work modes and increasing digital customer engagement represents key digital transformation objectives driven by the pandemic,” says Elka Popova, information & communication technology principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan.
Now more than ever, people want to have higher-definition services with unmatched quality and jump on a platform with advanced features that allow them to work in better ways, regardless of where they are. In fact, many have already adopted a wide variety of communication and collaboration tools in 2020. In the long run, companies must create an effective and unified strategy to bring meetings, calls, and team messaging apps together and remain resilient and sustainable.
Research from Metrigy shows that due to the pandemic 65% of companies were more likely to use cloud communications services. But that is not the overall solution. Without UCaaS, the team’s work and productivity might suffer. Employees might be confused in handling different responsibilities at hand without a single platform to go to. In response to this, a single, integrated UCaaS solution can offer the following benefits:
- Multi-functional interface for accessing all features across desktop and mobile devices;
- Seamless integrations with customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and other enterprise apps;
- Automatic upgrades to access new cloud-native features;
- Centralized management and control; and,
- Next-level analytics.
What is more, businesses can access all the features that unify communications, without having to manage and maintain it as the third-party providers own and maintain the servers. With less to think about on the backend, all of the tools and business applications they need from one familiar interface achieve a streamlined user experience.