2017 – The Year of Integrated Communications and Re-platforming

T. Banting
T. Banting

Summary Bullets:

• 2017 is likely to see more innovation in the field of integrated communications (embedding click to collaborate functionality within business applications) which may incorporate Communications as-a-Platform (CPaaS).

• In order to support digital transformation initiatives, enterprises will be faced with a re-platforming choice – arguably this is likely to be a cloud-based team collaboration application.

Season greetings! It’s that time of the year where analysts start looking towards the year ahead and dust off their crystal ball to offer vendors and customers an insight into what’s to come. As we look at 2017, two key collaboration and communications trends emerge:

1. There is a move away from innovation in united communications (UC) and towards a new category of integrated communications.

This trend is triggered by the need for companies to squeeze additional productivity from their businesses and this is driving a need for integrated communications. This is not merely limited to providing click to collaborate features in office productivity applications (such as Microsoft Office and Google G Suite), but also to home-grown applications and mobile apps. Consequently, this requires an extensive range of APIs for developers to leverage and potentially, a new platform: CPaaS. This has the potential to disrupt the traditional UC market considerably which has hitherto focused on the unification of numerous real-time modalities (voice, video, instant messaging and conferencing) into one client. CPaaS essentially allows developers to embed real-time communications functionality directly into business applications, circumventing the need for premises-based PBXs or UC servers.

2. Digital Transformation Turns Inwards

Digital transformation (a shorthand way of helping companies reduce the complexity of how they interact with their customers) will start to turn inwards in 2017, as businesses realize that to improve the way in which they communicate and collaborate with customers they also need to remove the bottlenecks that exist internally within their business. Consequently, this requires a re-platforming decision as the PBX diminishes in terms of its importance as a productivity platform. This is likely to incorporate elements of CPaaS, UC, and other solutions, many of which are likely to be cloud-based and support native integration with other applications. A continued focus area for 2017 will be collaborative teamspaces as they offer the potential to react to a rapidly changing business environment, address customer demands quickly, react to competitive threats, and improve profitability. When viewed as a collaborative hub, collaborative teamspaces are likely to expand quickly beyond its primary use case, i.e., as team productivity solutions. For example, customer contact centers may look at such platforms as a means of reaching out to a broader network of colleagues and partners to help resolve customer support calls. Additionally, collaborative teamspaces are likely to bridge intelligent devices (i.e., IoT devices) and employees, thus providing intelligent alerting to problems that require human intervention.

Best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year!

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