Communications Blog • 4 MIN READ

Unified Communication and Collaboration trends: 2020 and beyond

Greg Clancy

Written by Greg Clancy

As things become more complex and fragmented in the world of Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC), organizations are being forced to look to the future of their UCC environment. Let’s examine the key factors set to transform the way end users will work, and vendors will deliver solutions, from the beginning of the new decade.

The future is hybrid

With the constant barrage of new products and technologies from leading vendors, it’s clear that future product direction and development will increasingly become cloud-based.

But for many organizations, it’s not simple (or possible) to shift their entire UCC environment to the cloud. There are many factors to consider, like current investment in their on-premises set up, compatibility with existing architecture, systems and hardware, as well as factors like the cost of implementation, user adoption and security concerns.

As a result, many organizations find themselves operating hybrid UC environments. Technology is moving at such a pace that businesses are pressed to keep up – the cloud offers flexibility in this respect. But on-premises components have a reputation for being more secure.

Hybrid environments can be viewed as having the “best of both worlds” and can give your organization a competitive advantage. However, these environments aren’t without their downsides, most glaringly the challenge that comes with having to manage both systems simultaneously.

Everything boils down to data

Bill Haskins is a senior analyst and partner at Wainhouse Research, a company that focuses on UC technologies, strategies and services. At the recent IR Summit in Denver, he highlighted how IT department can manage the challenges that arise because of the way technology is rapidly evolving.

“Everything boils down to a data-related skill set…a fundamental understanding of data models, where data lives, how data is managed…how data is ingested and how it’s accessed from an actionable standpoint,” said Haskins.

Data is revolutionizing the digital world. Organizations have been collecting, storing and sharing data for years. But increasingly, the emphasis is shifting to analysing that data, and using it to make informed decisions.

Watch this video to hear more from Bill Haskins.

Team collaboration as the new work hub

Email is no longer seen as the most efficient way of collaborating as a team. Overloaded inboxes, missed information and data, delayed responses and the exclusion of other team members are just some of the issues. Organizations are moving towards more effective solutions that provide call and file sharing, app integration and video conferencing. Teams want to be able to collaborate in the workplace in the same way that they communicate privately and socially. They want to complete projects efficiently, brainstorm easily, message instantly. UCC is making this a reality and dramatically changing the workplace.

AI in communication

AI and machine learning are somewhat new to the UCC environment, but it’s becoming evident that it can help organizations to streamline operations. AI can improve employee productivity and collaboration with voice analytics providing speech-to-text capabilities. Virtual assistants or bots can replace remote controls and enable meetings using voice commands. Smart cameras and video equipment are now available with built-in AI technology. The creation of this new technology will streamline communication in the workplace and lead to better customer interaction.

CPaaS, workflows and APIs

Communications platform as a service (CPaaS) provide businesses with a complete framework for building their own real-time communications and workflows. Rather than having separate apps and tools for different functions like video conferencing, calling and messaging, it provides a single-window environment for employees.

CPaaS embeds the communication features a business needs into their existing business tools, through application programming interfaces (APIs). For example, it enables the integration of instant messaging, video calling or appointment reminders on the business website. This means a massive improvement in customer and employee user experience.

All these developments point to exciting times ahead in the UCC space. But it also means greater complexity and more challenges for IT teams to contend with. As I’ve said before, true success will be dependent on reliability, agility and insight, as the way we connect and collaborate continues to evolve. Those organizations who equip their staff with the tools and skills to simplify that complexity and deliver services that just work are those that will succeed in 2020 and beyond.

Topics: Communications Customer experience UCaaS management Cloud and hybrid UC

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