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The Future of UCC and the Rise of Platforms: Making Communications and Collaboration Part of the New Work Experience

January 19, 2017 by Jim Lundy, CEO and Lead Analyst, Aragon Research

The market for communications is shifting to one in which multi-modal interactions will become the norm. We recently published a research note that identifies the new elements of UCC and why UCC Platforms are emerging as a way to integrate UCC features into business applications and shape the new work experience. If you haven’t had the chance to read it, click here to download your copy.

As I explain in the research note, unified communications and collaboration (UCC) is the new way forward, and enterprises positioned to focus holistically on real-time collaboration are those that stand to emerge as the winners in this new cloud-based, video-enabled, mobile-supported business environment.

While the note goes into greater depth about the current state of communications and collaboration, what follows below is the quick version to whet your appetite and provide the bottom-line takeaways:

The Big Four. Voice, video, messaging, and collaboration together are driving the future of UCC. Although voice and email communications dominate interactions within today’s enterprise, the shift to omni-channel communications is already well underway. It’s no surprise that end users are helping drive demand and rapid adoption: they understand that different modes of communication are better suited for a given business situation over another, and largely dependent on context.

UCC Fueling Real-time Collaboration. At its core, UCC is about enabling collaboration and communication – from voice to video; from live to virtual; from instant to mobile messaging – and today’s business users want it. Switching communication modes (i.e., moving from chat into video or voice) will become that much more seamless and automated in real time than ever before. 

The Future is in the Cloud. There is a growing recognition that cloud-based UCC services are faster and easier to deploy. They also provide more flexibility for remote use cases. As the demand for cloud UCC offerings grows, so will pressure on traditional on-premise PBX providers. Today we find ourselves straddled between both, with hybrid cloud capabilities bridging the gap between legacy environments and cloud offerings.

Messaging Goes Mainstream. Messaging has become one of the dominant forms of UCC for consumers, but without tight integration to a real-time global platform, these solutions will struggle to meet enterprise requirements, including when it comes to mobile collaboration. Moving forward, we’ll witness best-of-breed providers either building native messaging functionality into their platforms or white labeling through another vendor to enable.

Integrate or Go Home. The go-forward approach to UCC will come in the form of an integrated offering that leverages multi-communication options. As messaging becomes more integrated, we can expect email to be sidelined as the go-to launch point of conversation. The foundation of a more integrated work experience is a more integrated set of applications. For UCC, this means offering different types of meeting experiences as integrations.

The UCC market is large and evolving fast, and the market is at a tipping point with respect to harnessing all its potential to shape the new work experience. The rise of the digital enterprise has initiated new ways to get work done and created faster ways to communicate (and collaborate) with colleagues and customers. As cloud and mobile help change the landscape, enterprises need to carefully evaluate legacy investments and develop exit strategies if a given UCC platform isn’t evolving its offering to include voice, video, messaging, and collaboration.

Learn more about Aragon Research.

Jim Lundy, CEO and Lead Analyst, Aragon Research
Jim Lundy, CEO and Lead Analyst, Aragon Research
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