It is hard to find businesses not using unified communications (UC) in some fashion, as the barriers to adoption don’t outweigh the benefits of UC. The fundamentals remain the same: businesses are deploying UC to improve employee productivity while reducing operational costs.
IHS Markit interviewed 212 medium and large organizations in North America that use internet-protocol (IP) telephony, messaging, and collaboration and plan to integrate these communication types by February 2020. This year’s survey solidified the importance of video conferencing and team collaboration as critical communication tools for businesses. The other standout was the importance of integrating UC with business applications such as customer relationship management (CRM), business productivity tools, and vertical-specific applicationsto foster productivity and competitive advantage for companies.
More businesses these days are using cloud solutions across the board, and UC is no exception. Buisnesses are moving to unified communications as a service (UCaaS) for ease of implementation and flexibility,
“It is important for providers to support hybrid environments in the near term this survey indicates most companies are not going all-in with the cloud, opting to put some applications in the cloud while keeping other pieces on premises,” said Diane Myers, senior research director, IHS Markit. “However, the goal is to create seamless solutions, and while enterprises may use a cloud provider, they still run and manage some applications themselves. In evaluating cloud UC providers, the survey respondents indicated the most important criteria are security, financial stability and service and support.”
A mix of vendors and service providers supply these capabilities, but perceptions of who supplies UC and cloud solutions include infrastructure vendors and providers, illustrating that these two broad terms often have varying interpretations.
- According to survey respondents, Microsoft is the leading premises-based and cloud UC supplier. Microsoft’s strength comes from being a leading enterprise application vendor, including e-mail, and desktop productivity applications. It has built a strong hosted business with Office 365, which has extended to Teams, along with a large installed base of Skype for Business.
- Cisco is a strong challenger behind Microsoft, in terms of survey respondents’ installed base for cloud and premises-based solutions, as well as with perceptions of leadership. Cisco’s position of strength comes from being a leader in enterprise telephony, web conferencing and data networks. We expect Microsoft and Cisco will continue to be stiff competitors for new UC deployments in the coming 12 months, with mid-market and larger enterprises. However, in the cloud world there is a much broader set of competitors, with new ones forming all the time—but these two vendors should not be counted out.
Unified Communications (UC) Strategies and Vendor Leadership N.A. Enterprise Survey
This annual survey analyzes the trends and assesses the needs of enterprises using unified communications. The study covers UC deployment drivers and barriers, implementations, applications, and enterprises' opinions of vendors, including on key vendor selection criteria. The survey also explores enterprises' cloud UC plans and provider selection criteria.