As people become more mobile it is hardly surprising that businesses are becoming more mobile too; particularly as mobility isn’t restricted to helping remote workers remain in contact with their office colleagues but rather is an over-arching strategy which improves how all employees communicate and collaborate to be more productive at work. With budgets allocated to mobility projects growing steadily in recent years: 7% in 2016 and 10% in 2017, it offers the channel a significant business opportunity.
With more users converting to unified communications (UC), resellers have been focusing their efforts on supporting this move. It is now time for resellers to leverage the opportunity created by this shift in the market and introduce mobility as part of the overall UC strategy. The industry is seeing a trend of UC platforms moving to the cloud or other UC as a service (UCaaS) solutions. UCaaS provides a cost effective, flexible and scalable alternative to traditional telecom solutions. UCaaS offerings (based on highly sought after mobile first deployments) provide a high-quality user experience in a way that enables users to navigate across various communication modalities, including instant messaging (IM), employee presence, telephony, web conferencing and video conferencing. This provides the channel with the opportunity to become the ‘one-stop-shop’, offering integrated mobility, data and applications on a single UC platform, whether this is a hosted private cloud solution or UC as a Service (UCaaS) multi-tenant cloud solution. Of the two offerings; private and UCaaS, UCaaS is proving more popular, due to its increasing functionality and competitive pricing.
According to the Gartner Magic Quadrant report, key UC market trends are:
UCaaS vendors are reporting an increase of mobile first deployments as more businesses see their workers not using traditional desktop-based phones. All voice communications are run through mobile devices and Gartner expects that this will continue to increase, meaning a higher demand for integrated mobility solutions.
The Magic Quadrant graphic identifies two sections of differentiated vendors. First, in the challengers’ quadrant, we find Google and Microsoft. Both vendors provide a scalable UCaaS portfolio that is low-cost and intuitive, strong in Instant Messaging (IM), Presence, Mobility, Unified Messaging (UM) and Video-Conferencing – and both are seeing increasing adoption. The second set of differentiated vendors fare well on the vision axis and include; RingCentral, 8x8, and Fuze, who all run proprietary UCaaS application stacks, while also being service providers. These vendors are strong in innovation but lack in market execution, they are therefore seeking partnerships to offer that ‘one-stop-shop’ solution sought after by customers.
It is becoming clear that customers are showing interest in connecting their UCaaS functionality with other cloud applications, this is primarily accomplished with API’s. A single consolidated approach to providing a communication platform, tools, and a mobility solution which offers immediate, anywhere access to all data and applications needed.
With the trends indicating mobility as a growing business need, it is important to prepare a business case to help sell and maximise this opportunity. Your customers will have a wish list, but their requirements tend to be simple; coverage, low total cost of ownership and integration!
Enterprises who add a mobility solution to their overall UC strategy (such as Microsoft’s Skype for Business) enables workers to communicate and collaborate using voice and video call functionality, presence enabled status, instant messaging (IM), meetings and full call features from a single, easy-to-use interface within a wireless in-building environment.
When looking for a solution that offers the best coverage, DECT and/or Wi-Fi solutions are generally perceived to be the leading technologies. These solutions are easily optimised for the host PBX, IP-PBX or UC platform, with specific applications to improve productivity and workflow processes, while supporting roaming and handover throughout a larger in-building area, guaranteeing interference free mobility.
With the growth of the mobility market and abundance of innovation, the channel can take full advantage by providing their customers with an understanding of the full scope of possibilities and savings derived from enterprise level mobility.
Spectralink offers the only enterprise mobility solution with native integration with Microsoft environments that are compatible with Skype for Business. It is also the only wireless solution that does not require the need for third-party gateway, and therefore, the customer benefits from the full feature set.
Craig Barrass is region sales lead for Northern Europe at Spectralink.
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