Large firms handing advantage to SMEs in cloud UC, says Outsourcery

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Cloud-based unified communications (UC) is changing the way that organisations work, says cloud services provider Outsourcery, but another repercussion of the availability of UC and collaborative tools in the cloud is that large organisations are left playing catch-up with smaller, more nimble enterprises.

As a cloud-based provider whose mission is to help organisations set aside their on-premise legacies, Outsourcery has a vested interest in making the claim. However, it points to recent research on the cloud UC market from BroadSoft*, which suggests that predicted sixfold growth over the next five years will be driven largely by SMEs, with penetration in large enterprises running at half of that rate.

Earlier this month, BroadSoft published the findings of its 2015 Global Business Survey, which revealed that Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) apps and hosted PBX solutions will grow from their current seven per cent share of the UC market to 41 per cent by 2020.

According to the research, cloud UC growth will be sevenfold among mid-market customers (from five per cent currently to 37 per cent by 2020) and nearly fivefold (from ten per cent to 48 per cent) among small businesses. By contrast, large enterprise cloud UC growth will be threefold over the next five years, with the implication being that large organisations are much more likely to have a legacy of on-premise investments.

• According to the same survey, UC will become increasingly mobile in the same timescale, with more than half of all UC sessions being via mobile devices, with smaller businesses in particular opting for mobile-only, cloud-based communications, eliminating the need for traditional landline phones. The BroadSoft survey contrasts with this report published on UCInsight.com in January, which suggested that large corporates are more likely to switch away from traditional telephony solutions because they are now too expensive and cumbersome. 

Jon Seddon, Head of Product at Outsourcery, said in a written statement from the company: “SMEs are demonstrating agility and flexibility in their approach to unified communications, and are reaping the benefits of this willingness to innovate. This is being reflected in the positive impact UC solutions such as Skype for Business are having on the productivity of staff and the streamlining of work processes.”

(Outsourcery’s solutions are based on Microsoft applications, along with Dell and HP hardware.)

Larger organisations need to replicate this agile approach in order to reap the same productivity and collaborative benefits, said Seddon. “Excessive bureaucracy and systemic inefficiencies often mar the operations of big businesses and professional services firms, but these companies have a ready-made solution on their doorstep that is straightforward to implement, and can remedy these inefficiency issues in a short space of time.”

Crucially, an “attitude of inertia when it comes to UC adoption could also compromise a large organisation’s status as a thought leader in their sector,” he added.

Seddon concluded: “Many big firms are positioning themselves as thought leaders in business innovation; which is enabled in no small part by effective communication and collaboration. If these companies are sluggish in embracing the UC technologies that are becoming a cornerstone of business best practice, their status as leaders in their respective sectors is at threat.”

*: Outsourcery attributed the research to Cloud Computing Intelligence, but in fact that outlet was citing research originally carried out by BroadSoft.

About Author

Chris Middleton

Chris Middleton is a widely respected business and technology journalist, author, and magazine editor. In recent years he has been Editor of Computing (where he remains Consulting Editor); co-founder and Managing Editor of Professional Outsourcing – a magazine he developed from scratch and grew to be the leading magazine in its field; Editor of CBR in its most successful year; and co-founder and launch Editor of Sourcingfocus.com. Today, he is co-Director of EastwoodMiddleton Publishing, and founder, designer, and Editor in Chief of Strategist magazine (UK), the boardroom magazine that provides strategic insight for business leaders, and of its mobile-first digital edition at www.iamtheStrategist.com. He is also co-founding Editor of Child Internet Safety magazine, and a contributing Editor of Diginomica.com. Over the years Chris has also written for, among many others, The Guardian, The Times, the BBC, and Computer Weekly. He is the author of several successful books on digital media, and a commissioning editor of more than 50 books.