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Cloud UC Expected To Have Big Year In 2015

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In the enterprise sphere, it seemed like everyone was talking about unified communications in 2014. By many accounts, this has to do with the rapid evolution that the channel has experienced of late. 

"As UC evolved, it became all about collaboration and making it easier for teams to interact, share documents, initiate conferences and collaborative sessions on the fly, resulting in improved workgroup productivity," said Unified Communications Strategies founder Blair Pleasant in an interview. "Now we're seeing a bigger focus on external collaboration, enabling better collaboration and interaction with customers, partners, suppliers, and so on, using various tools such as Web and video conferencing, document sharing, desktop sharing, etc. UC is moving from the individual, to the workgroup, to the larger organization and its stakeholders."

With this in mind, it's likely that UC will experience an even bigger year in 2015 - namely when delivered through the cloud. While not all legacy systems have outlived their usefulness quite yet, a growing number of businesses are finding that their existing circuits may need to be swapped out for something with modern capabilities. In the next year, the number of cloud unified communication adoptions is only going to increase, as has been predicted for some time now. Much of this change will be the result of an underscored importance on concepts like BYOD and remote connectivity. 

Professionals In Need Of Cloud UC

Consumer technology has seen some incredible developments in a relatively short amount of time. More professionals than ever now possess advanced communications tools - and the skills necessary to use them. With such a vast percentage of people experienced in cloud and mobile operations, the workforce is beginning to see that the physical office is not always essential to productivity and collaboration. As a result, an increasing number of employees are requesting the ability to work from home on a regular basis - namely those of the millennial generation.

"Enterprises have learned quickly that the BYOD trend can benefit them if personal and enterprise-issued devices are used to improve worker productivity," wrote Nemertes Research vice president Irwin Lazar for TechTarget. "So they're moving to support mobile workers across a wide range of devices and mobile operating systems, and enable mobile UC applications."

According to Unified Communications Strategies contributor Arthur Chang, "the mobile generation is here and here to stay." Updating telecom infrastructures accordingly is going to be key to keeping talented staffers around and staying out ahead of rival organizations. But as more offices realize that these are the kinds of advantages they need to foster modern success, an increasing percentage of them are investing in cloud UC services that can help professionals to stay connected from anywhere in the world where they have Internet service.


"As enterprises assess how to build, deploy and manage their UCC strategy, they are turning to managed, hosted and cloud-based UC service providers to impact success," wrote TechTarget contributor Karen Kervin. "Cloud-based UC services are a key method for reducing the complexity of your UCC deployment."

Pace Of Change Is Picking Up

For a while, cloud communication adoptions were not seen as dire priorities. But now that a growing number of businesses have had time to innovate with new UC assets, the disparity between them and their competitors is beginning to widen. Cloud UC is changing the way that businesses communicate, be it in relation to colleague collaboration or connecting with people outside the company walls. According to Chang, "cloud UC 'crossed the chasm' in 2014" in this regard, and "2015 will be a banner year" for the technology.

"2014 was a strong growth year for Unified Communications as a SaaS service from the cloud," Chang wrote. "When delivered from the cloud, UC has compelling advantages over on-premises UC solutions. In 2015, we predict a breakthrough year for cloud UC solutions due to several new trends, including UC-enabled 'everything' services, UC enriched mobility, and the maturing of cloud infrastructures to handle cloud UC services."

Mobile, cloud-ready unified communications solutions are becoming essential. As more companies find that their legacy systems are beginning to reach their natural end of life, they are becoming increasingly interested in software-defined environments for the telecom needs. Programs are much more "future-proof," as Chang put it, and the idea of seeking out a brand-new, on-site system is beginning to fall out of vogue. The time, money and effort that goes into installing and maintaining these networks is no longer viable. Instead of pushing outdated strategies on the company and its employees, organizations have to invest in hosted cloud communications. These services are reaching new levels of availability and functionality, helping to level the playing field between large corporations and small businesses.

"Initially, UC was aimed at large enterprises that have the budgets and IT staff to support UC deployments, and small businesses were essentially left out in the cold," Pleasant said. "With cloud services, even very small organizations can have full UC capabilities, without the capital expense or IT resources."

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