2017 marked a significant gear shift for the unified communications market (UC). We’ve seen the pace of adoption pick up as businesses move away from traditional on-premise telephony systems and outdated PBX systems. We’ve also seen a change in attitude, where collective working environments are no longer seen as a business advantage, but are demanded by all.
The UC market is forecast to hit $US96 billion globally by 20231; growth not spurred by adoption alone but by an increase innovation. As digital transformation becomes a priority for businesses, providers are looking to augment this ambition with services to match.
As we look ahead in 2018, what innovation can we expect from the UC market that will benefit service providers?
Cloud is king
The pace of growth for the UC market has been driven by the adoption of cloud-based solutions.
Previously, UC had been used mostly by larger enterprises with deep pockets able to meet the hefty price tags. However, the development of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) options, such as Optus Cloud-UCX, is opening up these services by removing the barriers to entry for both the enterprise and small and medium business (SMB) markets.
Our aim in launching Optus’ Cloud-UCX was to take full advantage of the cloud: to provide our customers with continual, instantly accessible innovation in the UC market.
We expect take-up of UCaaS to increase dramatically over the next few years and our key focus for Optus is supporting our wholesalers with this growth. As part of Cloud-UCX is a comprehensive support program, called Powered by BroadSoft, designed to accelerate adoption by end users.
It includes marketing support, a dedicated on-boarding service, online training certification for staff and even campaign tools focused on industry verticals. It means if a local GP walks into your store to consider UCaaS you can explain the benefits the platform will offer for someone in the medical profession.
Powered by BroadSoft also includes support for on-board activities. For example, this can include a white-labelled microsite environment which allows you to provide 30-day test to end users, with an option of going through to purchase after the test period ends.
As more end users demand UCaaS, these tools help you reach them with the right message.
Putting teamwork in the heart of business
Team collaboration tools are quickly putting the “unified’ in UC, by building shared workspaces in the cloud.
The future of work is agile, where members of the team can be in different continents, but feel like they’re all in the same room. Improvements to teambuilding technology is enhancing this even further.
To address this customer demand, Cloud-UCX adopters will gain access to BroadSoft’s team collaboration tools later this year; providing for a single destination for collaboration. It includes video conferencing, desktop sharing, virtual whiteboards and video calls which is all accessible in real time.
The impact of a digital workspace in freeing up staff from the constraints of distance is a powerful one, particularly in Australia, where large cities are separated by space. The benefit of team collaboration is that it removes this remoteness and allows staff to work on shared projects easily, even when they’re kilometers away.
Redefining the call centre
When we think about the way customers get in touch with businesses today – they might opt to use the phone, social media, an email or visit in person. Each interaction needs to be both satisfactory and united, to make the customer feel as though they’re having one conversation with a business instead of several.
It is little wonder that designing the contact centre of the future is becoming a key demand for business – and a priority for UCaaS providers.
From July this year, Cloud-UCX customers can look forward to BroadSoft’s CC-One, cloud contact centre system. CC-One redefines the traditional call centre as a strategic business asset, which integrates all communications channels and uses predictive analytics to improve business performance.
The impact of digital contact centres is significant. Aberdeen research found businesses with contact centre UC saw productivity boost by three compared to companies without it. They also saw an improvement of 12 per cent in customer satisfaction, nearly 10 percent in retention and a 6 per cent reduction in customer complaints.
In practice, it allows service representatives to spend less time looking for relevant data to address customer needs and instead, can provide a seamless experience irrespective of the channel.
UCaaS provides a huge opportunity for businesses to transform their way of working for the digital world – but it’s a formidable challenge. It’s why service providers must get on the front foot and help them through this change.
The benefit of cloud-based UC is that it allows service providers to provide innovation instantly. At Optus Wholesale, we’re looking forward to providing these innovations – and more – as we help our wholesale customers provide the foundation for this workplace for the future.