How UC&C has changed lanes from luxury to business-critical
Over the last few months, pressure to keep employees connected remotely has forced the hand of many decision makers, accelerating their investment in unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) solutions. Embracing a remote working setup was a first for many and left a number of businesses changing their course of spending, facilitating company-wide home working and staying collaborative through a challenging time.
Now, effortless remote collaboration between employees, stakeholders and even customers is not only a driver of better satisfaction; it is a fundamental part of business success. This transition has resulted in a number of changing viewpoints and priorities around collaboration and the technologies that power it.
UC&C has become business critical
Pre-coronavirus, UC&C was considered by many as a ‘nice to have’; a nod to the needs of a future workforce where prosperous businesses would look to invest slowly over time. According to our 2019 Digital Transformation report, UC&C was middle ranking in the technology mix, and with 29% of teams investing in it. Now, almost half (48%) of respondents consider UC&C to be part of complete digital transformation. For an area that was previously seen as entirely non-critical, that’s a big leap.
The COVID-19 lockdown has forced businesses to invest, adapt, and totally re-evaluate what is business critical, what the business needs to survive, and how best to implement it. Easy collaboration has never been more important to businesses and UC&C has been an ultimate winner of lockdown. It is proving how quick and easy it is to implement, but more importantly, it is redefining the future of work and giving business leaders the confidence that workforces can operate just as effectively with more flexibility, or in remote conditions.
The working from home leap was something that many businesses would consider and want to do, but few actually had the confidence to take the plunge - until COVID-19 made the decision for them.
A boost for collaboration tools
The investment in UC&C pre-coronavirus was fairly steadily rising - businesses were beginning to realise its importance and potential, but were investing at a steady but slow rate. However, this has now skyrocketed with 71% of respondents in our latest insights survey now identifying collaboration software as an area of huge investment. Interestingly, significantly more respondents expect to see spending on such software - rather than hardware to power it. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Most devices today are already capable of seamlessly integrating with collaboration software, and the demand for specific home working equipment will be much lower as a result.
This growth in anticipated investment aligns with the view that businesses now see the need to future proof their organisations through UC&C networks. With that said, a significant amount of companies (53%) are still yet to decide on which UC&C system to use - a decline of only 7% since February. Remote working is now heavily ingrained in our new sense of normal and those yet to decide on their UC&C tools risk falling behind competition.
A long-term investment
UC&C has taken an obvious sideways step away from being a luxury, forward-thinking area, to a key investment to secure the future of businesses. Between February and April, we saw a 9% increase in those who are now turning to UC&C to ensure that they are prepared for long term success.
The forced coronavirus lockdown has shown businesses that employees can work effectively from home with UC&C becoming a ‘must-have’ technology. Effective collaboration between staff now plays an integral role in maintaining productivity and efficiency, but also in attracting and retaining happy employees due to the added flexibility that modern tools afford.
The growth in UC&C has risen sharply during the last four months, and business leaders shouldn’t expect this demand to plateau anytime soon, as businesses prepare for the future. It’s a given that investment will have slowed from the initial burst of demand at the beginning of lockdown, but the demand and investment in UC&C is still significantly higher than before. As we continue to adjust to the new future or work, the future certainly looks bright for UC&C and the organisations using it to power better collaboration during lockdown and beyond.