A Deep Dive Into the Opportunities and Trends in the Unified Comms & Collaboration market

UC & Collaboration How is the UC and collaboration market changing?

The market is changing faster than ever. Acquisitions and mergers across all industries have increased by about 80% in the last year, with tech accounting for a fifth of the total deal value (source: Refinitiv). This is well-reflected in the unified communications space, with a great deal of high-profile M&A activity ongoing. In addition, Microsoft Teams’ ubiquity in the collaboration space is beginning to transfer to telephony: they recently announced they have over 12 million PSTN users, and with an impressive roadmap laid out before them, this trend seems set to continue.

It would be easy to assume that this would translate to uncertainty in the minds of customers, and negatively impact sales. Instead, the result of this activity is innovation, presenting a chance for customers to revaluate the way they work, driving new opportunities for resellers.

However, this must come with the understanding that a solution is about so much more than the technology you deploy. Technology is just an enabler, which only becomes a solution with a commitment to understanding both how your organisation and people work now, and how you want them to be able to work in the future. That is putting greater reliance on analytics and insights than ever before.

What opportunities remain untapped?

The big untapped opportunity is to enhance the unified experience currently available within services like MS Teams to deliver business applications and solutions that make customers more efficient and solve real business problems.

Technology changes and advances continuously, but ultimately, businesses are still trying to solve the same challenge of how to collaborate internally and externally in the most efficient way.  This is one reason why providers are now integrating calls into MS Teams. They are looking to dovetail their UC capabilities into the way that customers and users collaborate.  They need to leverage the technology to empower the overall business solution.

Are there any emerging technologies or features that you expect to become commonplace in the next few years??

In the past, telecoms and technology was sold to people because they didn’t have it. The market now is very different. Today, we all have the technology, but we don’t all use it in the best possible way, and it doesn’t solve the business issues which remain the same.

The focus over the next few years will be to leverage the technology in a better way to help businesses to solve their problems. Some of the hurdles include the delivery of a joined-up solution between UC and collaboration. The key is to understand an organisation’s requirements which could relate to the call centre or customer-facing team and then identify the best technology to solve that problem.

In a hybrid world, analytics can solve some of the management and customer visibility issues around how to handle customers from a service level perspective.  However, as we move into this joined up collaboration setting, that story looks very different.  And the analytics has had to evolve to consider all forms of communications within our customer and with our internal people.  Data-driven insights help to achieve a holistic view across all of it.

Collaboration analytics to deliver best management practices in our hybrid world is another emerging capability. It will become more common place as businesses try to understand their culture, their people and how they deal with their customers.

What customer problems can resellers and MSPs solve through UC and collaboration solutions?

Traditionally people have looked at their external engagement analytics and their internal engagement analytics separately, but rarely together. We are seeing this as a major challenge as the market starts to appreciate that organisations are using the same collaboration capability both internally and externally. The divide is starting to blur.

Also, individual analytics driven by Microsoft Viva is encouraging people to look at their own performance. Giving people insights into their own work cadence will help them to become more efficient in the way that they use their day such as the number of recuring meetings.  By understanding their own behaviour, they can then adapt to an organisations’ requirements such as customer-first policies.

People are starting to see this type of personalised analytics as beneficial rather than detrimental. They are starting to expect tailored outcomes and this dovetails into the opportunities.