Jive and Frost & Sullivan UCaaS Technology Predictions

Jive and Frost & Sullivan UCaaS Technology Predictions
by Hillary Gamblin     Friday, February 2nd, 2018.

To celebrate Groundhog Day, we’re going into the prognostication business. We’ll provide the UCaaS technology forecast, but we’ll leave the weather up to Punxsutawney Phil.

Weather and UCaaS technology predictions. What more could you ask for?

Last year, Jive, inContact, and Polycom announced their UCaaS Technology predictions: the importance of remote worker technology, market consolidation, and developing integrations. These trends are still playing out, so this year we’ll continue to see market consolidation, an emphasis on integrations, and technology catering to remote workers and the millennial workforce. It’s a bit of the same, which is appropriate because it mirrors the plot of Groundhog Day.

The UCaaS forecast has also changed in significant ways. Global industry leader Jive Communications and renowned technology consultants Frost & Sullivan teamed up to illustrate these changes.

How can UCaaS companies stay competitive?

For the past few years, UCaaS companies feverishly innovated to compete with feature-rich legacy systems. So UCaaS providers concentrated on developing business phone features (like hot desking, call analytics, etc.) that would surpass legacy systems. They succeeded. But now UCaaS providers face another challenge: differentiating themselves from their fellow UCaaS providers.

Ironically, the market-wide strategy to surpass legacy features has created a slightly homogenous UCaaS offering. If you compare UCaaS providers, you’ll find they all offer similar features and a smartphone Hosted VoIP app to increase employee mobility. In fact, Elka Popova, Frost & Sullivan North American Program Director, explains that an increasingly competitive market creates “price pressures and increases buyer power, which inhibit growth rates.”

Instead of turning to price as the differentiator, companies must develop alternative areas of value to distinguish themselves from fellow UCaaS providers. In this competitive and changing market, UCaaS providers must diversify themselves from the UCaaS competition and offer solutions for specific verticals.

UCaaS differentiators are a necessity.

How can UCaaS providers differentiate themselves?

Disrupt UCaaS with . . . Cloud Architecture

UCaaS is moving up marketing, and product offerings are becoming more robust. I predict that companies with superior cloud architecture will start to separate themselves from the majority of companies that use a more basic datacenter setup.  

Matt Peterson, CMO of Jive Communications

Disrupt UCaaS with . . . Product Diversification

Broader portfolio diversification (e.g., SD-WAN, and communications platform as a service CPaaS) is a factor that can affect a provider’s ability to deliver customer value and compete effectively. Along with product diversification, UCaaS providers should also explore growth opportunities in UCaaS enhancements, (e.g., contact center, advanced collaboration tools, analytics, and native mobility technology). One particular UCaaS enhancement that is a key trend for the industry in 2018 is team collaboration/messaging apps. These next-generation “chat” tools will become common and popular UCaaS user interfaces.

—Elka Popova, Frost & Sullivan North American Program Director

Disrupt UCaaS with . . . Customer Support   

And as feature sets look more and more similar across the competitive landscape, customers will start to pay more attention to things like customer support as a competitive differentiator.

—Matt Peterson, CMO of Jive Communications

 

Along with product diversification, another factor that can affect the provider’s ability to compete effectively is customer service and support. For example, a trend that will shape the industry in 2018 is improving the end-user and IT admin experience with intuitive portals and messaging-centric user interfaces.  

—Elka Popova, Frost & Sullivan North American Program Director

Verticals are the New Black.

UCaaS providers can explore growth opportunities in tailored solutions for verticals, micro-business, mid-market, and enterprise. This means tailored services bundles (e.g., UCaaS+managed Wi-Fi), industry certifications, integration with vertical-specific apps, and (technology or channel) partnerships with vertical experts will deliver superior value in targeted industries or verticals.

For example, a key trend will be developing simple, plug-and-play solutions that will co-exist with sophisticated, feature-rich solutions catering to customers of varying size, IT expertise, budgets, communications requirements, and user profile.
—Elka Popova, Frost & Sullivan North American Program Director

 

In order to increase market share and drive revenue, UCaaS companies will verticalize their product and marketing communications. A one-size-fits-all product won’t work, particularly because of the various (and numerous) tools used by each industry. Unless the communication tools integrate with technologies used by manufacturers, retailers, medical providers, etc., it will be replaced by a more verticalized option. Marketing messages will have to follow suit. In order to capture the attention of the various verticals, marketers will have to coordinate with product developers and create campaigns that specifically highlight features and benefits for target industries. Creating a variation of your product that meets the needs of financial advisors? Create a marketing plan (message, delivery and attribution) for financial advisors as well. If UCaaS marketers use the same messaging regardless of which customer they are talking to, they can expect to be beat out by the competition . . . consistently.

Logan Mallory, Jive Director of Digital Marketing

Beware the Groundhog

The next phase in the industry evolution will be marked by the emergence of “productivity UC”, “IoT UC” and “vertical UC” solutions delivered by non-UC vendors that may have a disruptive impact on more traditional UCaaS providers.
—Elka Popova, Frost & Sullivan North American Program Director

Like Popova said, UCaaS is still developing, and it may have to get used to getting disrupted rather than doing the disrupting. So according to UCaaS technology predictions, will UCaaS providers see their shadow this Groundhog Day? It depends. It depends on whoever wins the race to provide vertical solutions. And it also depends on UCaaS companies remaining relevant and innovative. Because if UCaaS providers don’t stay up to date with innovations, non-UC vendors will disrupt the industry.

Jive is excited to share this blogpost with contributions from Frost & Sullivan. Frost & Sullivan is a leading group of global industry analysts. They work to uncover market trends, highlight technological advancements, and award strong companies through their Best Practices Award.


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