2021 brought many UCC trends to the forefront and caused a paradigm shift never before seen by the industry. Employers would have to meet not only rising customer expectations but also employee ones, too. With a need for more personalized and quicker customer query resolutions – employees who got a taste of working from home in 2021; say they want that to continue. 

Another principal theme that arose from 2021 – the ability to chat across any platform no matter the platform being used. That concept, known as interoperability, received considerable validation when Cisco and Zoom financed Mio’s interop efforts in an $8.7M Series A Funding Round.

UCaaS and CCaaS respectively emerged as essential tools for enterprises and companies of all sizes to leverage – if they wished to provide superior experiences. The likes of 8×8, Cisco, Microsoft, RingCentral, and Zoom were named leaders in Gartner’s 2021 UCaaS Magic Quadrant Report in 2021. 

Gartner UCaaS report 2021

These vendors, along with others named as visionaries, and challengers, all made the necessary tweaks to their technology to enable the kind of business continuity needed to stay afloat in 2022. Let’s dive into other trends set to revamp UCC in 2022 and beyond. I have compiled the most up-to-date statistics to give you an overview of the market as it stands today. 

 

Where Does UC Stand in 2022

COVID-19 certainly played an integral role: in the level of digital transformation that happened to many providers and companies consuming UCC technology. 

North America and Europe have seen some of the highest upticks in UCC technology deployment. As such, the trend of bringing your device (BYOD) became even more popular, especially as workforce management software became much simpler to use and better at enabling remote security on third-party devices.  

Source, Oxford Economics & Samsung

Source, Oxford Economics & Samsung

This has also prompted a substantial shift in the telepresence sphere, creating somewhat of a UC boom in 2021 – one expected to last well into 2022. To put things into better perspective – here are a few more stats that demonstrate the magnitude of UCC.  

  • BYOD, slated to drive higher demand for unified communication systems by 2023.
  • 34% of workers who previously commuted to work say they now work remotely – since April 2020.
  • 42% of companies say they have increased cloud and unified communication adoption.
  • 67% of organizations say they will move a ‘significant portion’ of their unified communications solutions to the cloud.
  • 85% of the world’s leading companies feel that APIs that let employees and customers communicate are crucial aspects of business growth.

Sources: Allied Market Research, MIT, Nemertes Research, Nemertes Research, Apigee

 

UC Trends that Affect Business

Elements like workflow automation, communications APIs, and interoperability have all grown to become something of a necessity for any compelling UC offering. Workflow automation enables employees to automate repetitive tasks for increased productivity. 

Communications APIs let developers and non-developers build out a communications stack that is more than sufficient to fuel any workload and power positive employee/customer experiences. 

Mobility is another decisive factor set to alter 2022. Employees, more than ever, crave greater mobility and workplace flexibility; and of course, specs like file sharing, chat, internal/external calling from a desktop, and softphones remain essential. 

A different trend we might expect to see on the rise in 2022 is no-code development, which lets non-developers construct bots, IVRs, as well as enhance the user (employee) and customer experience.

Source, Gartner MQ for Low and No-Code Vendors

Source, Gartner MQ for Low and No-Code Vendors

Below are some more statistics that depict how much the UC landscape has and will continue to mature:

  • Smartphone traffic could exceed desktop PC traffic by 2022, hinting at a growing need for mobile UC solutions with robust user experiences. 
  • ‘Trendsetting organizations’ are 150% more likely to use mobile communications solutions than follower organizations who tend to play catch up.
  • 70% of teams could rely on team collaboration tools like Slack by 2022.
  • Team collaboration tools like Slack, Cisco WebEx, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom have all seen massive adoption since the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • 34.3% of businesses have reduced IT spending by an average of $161k a year by eliminating redundant apps and shifting to cloud-based unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solutions. 

Sources: Cisco, Aberdeen, Gartner, NoJitterNemertes Research

 

UCC Trends

Collaboration tools like Slack have, too, seen an increase in usage for both small-to-midsize-business (SMBs) and enterprise users. 

One of the most sizable advantages of leveraging UCC platforms is that they are easier to deploy and operate than ever before. Many of them extend plug-and-play capabilities out the box, often extending the most advanced features like automation and IVR at the press of a button.

Scale, yet another central component that enables true flexibility, as organizations can add employees and contact center agents in a flash. UCaaS continues to grow, but in 2021, it seems that two names dominated the space – Microsoft Teams and Slack.

  • Microsoft Teams is hands down the top team collaboration software provider, with more than 250 monthly active users; Slack is a close contender, with 12 million, but is nowhere near flexing the kind of might of Microsoft Teams boasts. 
  • Microsoft notes that Teams users will leverage the collaboration technology more than 2.7 billion minutes daily.

Sources: TomTalksBlog, Microsoft

 

Global Video Conferencing Overview

Video conferencing is today; a necessity. We can attribute this to the Pandemic which sent millions to home-working: in what seemed like an instant. A viable UCC solution would surely do well in this climate – yeah? Zoom Video Communications seems to have achieved the accolade of becoming the poster child for connectedness and user experience. It experienced tremendous commercial success during the Pandemic.

There are tons of implications of the technology – one that predominantly relies on cloud private branch exchange (PBX) technology which uses remote servers that enact redundancy to provide high uptime. 

Source RingCentral

Source RingCentral

Such a capability is particularly pivotal when a business wants to expand across the globe. It also enables plenty of cool advanced features like the actual presence of an employee and seamless call transfer between multiple devices for more flexible meetings. 

There is also video conferencing, chat, file sharing, and voice calling. All these features have one common goal – bringing teams closer together, and they continue to see high upticks going into 2022. Take a look for yourself: 

  • More than 70% of the workforce say they work remotely one day a week or more.
  • Employees say; mobile video is 2.5 times more likely to reduce travel costs.
  • 76% of attendees who use video conferencing for remote collaboration/work say they experience enhanced work-life balance.
  • 70% of all online conferencing meetings by the year 2022 will be huddle-room meetings. 
  • Zoom made (greater) strides toward completing its UCaaS offering, getting named a leader in the Gartner, 2021 UCaaS Magic Quadrant report
  • Gartner notes the company fosters exceptional customer experiences, and its support is unmatched among many other factors that work in Zoom’s favor. 

Sources:  TechCrunch, Cisco, Frost, and Sullivan, Zoom

 

Poorly Implemented UC Can Impact a Business

Poorly implemented UC can create its own set of troubles that may impact business flow and output. One needs to understand their business needs before buying into a UCC solution.

And that is a two-prong responsibility: vendors and businesses using the UCC service have to understand their requirements in and out. It may also imply that understanding the capabilities of a workforce will be an increasingly important consideration for enterprise leaders in 2022. 

File sharing, chat, video conferencing, internal/external communication, and contact center integrations are all (relatively) definitive functionalities of modern UCC systems following the year that was 2021.  

  • 85% of online meeting participants say they have issues with the software and staying connected.
  • 42% of individuals who attend online meetings say they become frustrated before meetings begin – because they cannot join them; with ease.
  • 86% of business owners consider workplace issues to be the direct result of inadequate communications tools.

Sources: Cisco, Cisco, Salesforce

 

Is UC Worth it?

The long of the short is, well, a resounding yes. UC solutions have a myriad of benefits; that include cost savings, heightened productivity, and can impact the end customer in many instances. I will explore each of these concepts in the sections below:

Cost Savings: A modern and well-equipped cloud-based UC solution might save businesses money in a few areas: Infrastructure, administration, and travel. They are often less clunky than opting for on-premises software which often comes with hefty upfront charges for installing physical hardware vs. lightweight cloud-based UC platforms.

Productivity: Instead of searching days for a document in your email inbox or trying to hunt down a physical copy of it: Why not find the originator of the document and have it sent to you in a flash? You can gather critical teams for an impromptu video chat that spans all aspects of your business, from finance to product launches. You can unlock more significant amounts of productivity with the integration of workplace productivity software designed to schedule emails, automate repetitive tasks, and make it simpler to schedule meetings. 

Source, Inc.

Source, Inc.com

Customer Satisfaction: Well-done UC can lead to customer delight or satisfaction – that is to say – if it is a good one. What does this all have to do with UC? While it might not be obvious, well-implemented UC plays a role in creating satisfied customers and therefore, good CX customer experiences. 

You can integrate a CRM system with the UC system, which helps paint a better picture of a customer and their needs when so much information is available from a single unified system.

Agents: Arguably a contact center’s most important employees, agents, become more swift to respond and gain access to more accurate information. Why’s a customer not to be satisfied? Integrating contact center and UC solutions can create a mighty piece of enterprise comms built for external and internal communication as well.

I do hope this overview of the UCC market has been beneficial to you. If you want to learn more about the state of UC – visit our news portion – GetVoIP News for the latest deep dives into UCC industry headlines, insights, data, and more.