Research from Ribbon Communications has revealed that in the space of a year, unified communications solutions have gone from a useful business add-on to a critical part of the fabric of any company large or small.
On a yearly basis, and basically beginning from April 2020, the coronavirus has changed everything and, in terms of networking, turned everything upside down. Remote conferencing and collaboration are now business necessities, and just as important to the supplier community as to users.
The real-time software and IP optical transport solutions provider’s annual unified communications (UC) survey measured the UC purchase drivers and buying behaviours of leaders from small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and enterprises around the world. It took responses in November 2020 from more than 4,500 technology decision makers across 18 countries in the Americas and Europe. Respondents worked in companies with five to more than 5,000 employees.
The survey revealed the number of companies planning to institute some form of remote working post-pandemic increased by approximately one-third across all business sizes: large, that is those with more than 1,000 employees, with 36%; medium, 100-1000 employees, 35%; and small, fewer than 100 employees, 31%.
The survey found that for all business the three most popular unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) platforms for supporting remote workers during the pandemic for large companies were Microsoft Teams (27%), Zoom (27%) and Skype for Business (21%).
Not surprisingly, Zoom was found to be the most popular UC solution seeing use in small and medium-sized business (28% and 25% respectively) while Microsoft Teams was the solution of choice among large firms (28%) with Zoom and Skype For Business five and six percentage points behind respectively.
In addition, the number of small businesses planning to invest in UC&C solutions over the next two years increased 2.5 times from the previous year to 38%. Two-thirds (66%) of large companies plan to invest in some form of UC solution in the next two years.
Compared with the previous year’s results, the data showed a 103% increase amongst small businesses, defined as those with less than 100 employees, which had either deployed, were in the process of deploying or were planning to deploy Microsoft Teams. Respondents from large companies, reported an increase of 36%.
Additionally, the survey found that 76% of small companies; 67% of medium-sized companies; and 61% of large companies had yet to invest in IP-based communications solutions.
“The data reveals that there is still a significant market opportunity for IP communications and the Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically accelerated interest in adoption of Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) tools across the board, but particularly amongst small companies,” said Steven Bruny, executive vice-president of sales for the Americas at Ribbon.
“The demands of the shift to remote work, and the widespread availability of popular platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom, are key drivers in the increased interest in adopting UC&C.”