UCaaS has become the most widely used communications infrastructure for the first time, according to research from Metrigy.
The analyst found that UCaaS is now used 47.3 per cent of businesses globally – the highest amount since it started tracking the market in 2016.
Irwin Lazar, Principle Analyst at Metrigy, said that this figure will only increase in 2021 and beyond.
Speaking to UC Today, he added that, of the 29 per cent of companies that are still using on-prem infrastructure, around one-quarter plan to have moved to the cloud this year, with a further quarter currently in the evaluation phase.
“There’s still a growth opportunity for the UCaaS market,” he said.
“UCaaS is probably going to top out at somewhere north of 70 per cent of the market in the next two years”
“I think that’s where we’ll get to. There will always be cases where companies find the value of running on-prem or are slow to move or need a custom hosted solution, but I think, by and large, UCaaS has won the war.”
Metrigy also found that over half of the 476 firms surveyed are planning to increase their IT budget this year, by an average of 15.6 per cent. The companies surveyed were split across 11 countries and 54 industry verticals, with a mean average revenue of $1.4bn.
Lazar said that team collaboration, video, and cybersecurity came up as the three most common areas of increased spent.
“Companies got through the first year of the pandemic and got people working at home; now they’re looking at optimisation and what they can do to improve the experience through better devices or gaps in the application,” he said.
“I thought security coming third was interesting. Companies got through that panic mode, survive to thrive, and now they’re looking at how they optimise working from home and security is becoming an important part of that – particularly as companies are dealing with such a mix of applications these days.”
Lazar said that security is still a big concern in the industry, with just 41 per cent of the companies Metrigy surveyed saying they have a proact security plan.
“The SolarWinds attack really underscores that nation-state actors are out there and that nobody is safe,” he said.
“But when we asked this question a year ago only 28 per cent of companies said they had a proactive security plan, so the market is heading in the right direction, but I think companies are still not quite where they should be.”
Lazar added that part of the cybersecurity issue is that the market is fragmented into point solutions, with not many all-encompassing options available to companies with a UCaaS platform.
“There are not a lot of products playing in collaboration security space,” he said.
“Theta Lake, which Cisco just invested in, is a good example; there’s a company called SafeGuard Cyber based in Virginia – but there aren’t a lot of companies attacking that market.
“There are also some of the SBC vendors that have had more voice-centric security platforms but the way that people collaborate is so diverse now, and there are so many apps out there, that trying to have some kind of consistency [is hard].
“Customers are saying ‘if I want to control what documents can be shared in Slack, Teams and Zoom – how can I do that?’ So the market is playing catch-up, I think.”
The Metrigy report also reflects the growing use of CPaaS in the comms market.
Lazar said that CPaaS adoption is generally higher in the customer experience market, predominately around SMS.
But he said that strong growth is still being seen among collaboration teams, particular around letting users send and receive SMS from their business phones.
The Metrigy report found that 30.9 per cent of businesses are either using CPaaS in their collaboration strategy already or planning to by the end of 2021.
“The second biggest use case, in the collaboration side, has been adding click-to-call to various applications. There might be a salesperson who lives in Salesforce all day who can benefit from that ability,” he said.
“We’re also starting to see some interest in video using CPaaS, for things like telemedicine, training and distanced learning”
“There are also IoT-type applications where you might have remote monitoring that activates a camera. You could have a CPaaS service that takes the inbound video feed and pushes it into an application.
“There is still a disconnect, in that the majority of CPaaS applications have been more on the customer side than the internal communications side, but the market is continuing to grow.”