Priorities For 2021 - A Tale of Progression, to Survival, to Recovery and Beyond
2020 was arguably the most challenging year for businesses in modern history. There isn’t a sector that hasn’t been touched in some way by the coronavirus pandemic. For the Unified Communications and Collaboration market, it presented a new set of challenges and opportunities to rapidly evolve offerings and meet the needs of suddenly entirely remote workforces.
However, as businesses strive to recover and we look ahead to a more optimistic future, the outlook for 2021 looks positive for UC&C and beyond. With that in mind, our latest market research uncovered some key trends we should expect to see in terms of priorities for 2021, and how businesses are looking to recover from a truly tumultuous year. Let’s take a look.
2021 Growth Areas: Cloud Communications and Collaboration
Maintaining momentum from the year just passed, the two biggest growth sectors in 2021 are Cloud Communications and Collaboration. This growth of cloud communications is by no means unexpected for the year ahead, especially given that in the previous nine months, businesses have shifted from an office based to remote working capacity. 39% of businesses are looking to invest in cloud communications over the next six months, and the same number are looking to invest in collaboration software.
The reality is that home-working is going to continue, certainly in the short-term, as the UK continues its COVID recovery. Businesses are investing in the smooth transition and longevity of ‘working-from-home’ technology, building plans to continue the remote working process into part of everyday life.
While some areas have continued on their growth path, others have seen a decline this past year. The past twelve months have also shown a significant reduction in the investment in the security of UC&C solutions - 22% compared to 35% in April 2020 which illustrates the added investment in secure systems by technology providers. However given the rapid increase in cyber attacks in 2020, alongside the transition to a hybrid model of work in 2021, it’s to be expected that there will be an increase in security spend as we enter a ‘zero trust’ era.
Budgets Are On The Rise
One of the biggest priorities for the next twelve months is within the UC&C budgets and spend. It’s expected that 34% of businesses will see their UC&C budgets rise in 2021, and 32% are expected their budgets to remain the same as the previous year. However, the most significant statistics is that only 10% of businesses are expecting their UC&C budgets to decrease.
Realistically, the key reason that budgets are on the rise in 2021 is due to a reallocation of finances from other areas, such as travel and office costs that have been avoided in 2020. However, whilst UC&C is simply gathering finances from other areas of businesses, the reallocation into this area proves its importance and the reliance that many organisations now place upon it.
The increase in budget might in some cases allow businesses to wind back the clock twelve months, and become more forward-thinking in their UC&C approach; investing in progressive technologies aimed at simplifying the working operations currently carried out manually. Last year, a focus was given to simple survival, and any excess budget was cut away from any areas that weren’t strictly business critical. As the UK, and the world in general, begins its COVID recovery, a forward focus is now top of the business menu once again.
Through both necessity and the undeniable value that it brings to people today, UC&C is continuing to play a major role in ensuring businesses can function and its importance continues to grow. Unsure of the future landscape, businesses need to be ready to deploy different tactics and technologies through the next twelve months and beyond in what looks set to be an unpredictable, but recovery focused 2021.
It’s safe to say the story of UC&C continues - and will be nothing short of exciting!
Read the full Market Insights report here...