It seems like each of the past two or three years has been predicted to be "The Year of the Cloud" by at least a few industry observers. This isn't so much an issue of poor prognosticating as varying definitions. Without a doubt, cloud use grew year-over-year in 2012, 2013, and now 2014. Whether any particular year's usage rates or behaviors justify the title "Year of the Cloud" is a matter of interpretation.
So to predict that 2015 will be the year of the cloud in any capacity may seem like a dicey proposition. However, given all the evidence, it seems fair to suggest that, at the very least, 2015 will be "The Year of Cloud-Based Unified Communications."
Cloud UC in 2015In a recent article titled "The Future of Enterprise Communications: Predictions for 2015," Forbes contributor Michael DeFranco predicts "a shift from enterprises investing in technologies that just end up giving workers another 'thing to check' to those that truly drive productivity by putting the right information into the right hands at the right time."
Another industry expert who shares this belief is Arthur Chang of PanTerra Networks. Writing for Unified Communications Strategies, Chang noted that his organization expects "a breakthrough year for cloud UC solutions." He offered several reasons why 2015 is likely to see major cloud UC growth, including the development of UC-enriched mobility and the maturation of the infrastructure necessary to handle and deliver cloud-based UC.
"Cloud UC 'crossed the chasm' in 2014, from early adopters to early majority, and today is a viable solution for businesses that want a future-proof, scalable, globally consistent platform for deploying communications services," he wrote.
Mobile MattersAccording to Chang, there can no longer be any doubt that the bring-your-own-device trend is here to say. 2014 saw major growth in this area, and professionals in countless industries now expect, or even demand, the ability to perform work-related tasks on their personal devices. Critically, the writer pointed out that many workers will have multiple devices that they want to switch between when leveraging BYOD policies. This has created a serious challenge for many organizations' IT teams in the realm of communication - if a company's infrastructure cannot offer service via this diverse assemblage of devices, staff will not be able to fully leverage BYOD's potential.
In 2015, Chang explained, vendors will enthusiastically respond to this need for mobile UC by delivering a broader range of cloud-based solutions. This marks one of the most powerful advantages that cloud UC offers over legacy on-premise UC solutions, and it will be enough of a benefit that many organizations will likely switch to a new platform.
Assuming that 2015 is indeed the year when cloud-based UC becomes the standard, businesses will need to be careful to choose the right solutions provider. No two vendors are the same, with some offering superior reliability, others better flexibility, and so on. To make the most of this development, company decision-makers should look for cloud-based UC providers with established reputations for performance, customer service, and technological advancement.