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Avant Analytics: COVID-19 Prompts 86% Spike in UCaaS Sales

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A new Avant Analytics report shows UCaaS sales skyrocketing nearly 90% during the massive shift to working from home in March.

Avant Analytics is the market research arm of Avant Communications. This is its first comprehensive report with findings related to the COVID-19 pandemic‘s impact on enterprise technology.

Other findings in the Avant Analytics report include:

  • Customer interest in UCaaS spiked 88% in the midst of the pandemic.
  • Sixty-seven percent of businesses are planning to replace legacy telephone systems with UCaaS over the next 12 months.
  • Technical differentiators are very difficult for vendors to maintain since competitors quickly adopt similar or identical feature.
  • Cost savings are driving the death of PBX ahead of global recession. UCaaS might be the answer for many companies.
  • Other market drivers include video, collaboration and digital transformation.

What’s Driving Increasing Demand

Ken Presti is Avant‘s vice president of research and analytics. He said the “shock and awe” in February and March has largely peaked. But it has also underscored the degree to which most companies depend on IT for their very survival.

Presti, Ken_Avant

Avant’s Ken Presti

“Providers should proceed with the recognition that the traditional business office might never come back in the way we’ve always known it,” he said. “I’m not saying they’re going away completely, but we’re going to continue to look at a distributed/work-from-home (WFH) workforce at levels we’ve never seen before. What does that mean for your customers? How does it impact security, accessibility, support, training and the myriad other things that impact your value proposition?”

A lot of companies made changes in February and March from a state of near panic, Presti said.

“What were the things overlooked?” he said. “The answers will be different for each company, but that’s where you want to start connecting the dots. The general growth opportunity is there, just as it was earlier, but a new level of opportunity has also presented itself as a result of this unprecedented shift.”

UCaaS providers should and will continue to tout their technical differentiators, and “there’s nothing wrong with that,” Presti said.

We recently compiled a list of 20 top UCaaS providers offering products and services via channel partners.

“The difference is that the shelf life of those differentiators will be shorter as competitors set up competing versions, thereby turning those differentiators into table stakes,” he said. “To a certain extent, this has always been true. But the rate of change continues to accelerate. So, everyone’s engineers will continue to work toward the next great feature, and then the next great feature after that. On top of this, you add good service, reliability, good price points and all of those value-adds that might not be sexy, but always make a big difference. You’ll always want to deliver the latest and coolest. But very often, success is maximized by those who get the little things right.”

Customer Demands Present Challenges

As for customer demands, you “need to look at your customer in three distinct groups,” Presti said.

“You’ve got your technical team, which wants to meet the needs of the stakeholders with minimal friction, leveraging a solution that’s easy to administer and not going to drive them crazy,” he said. “You’ve got the business leaders who are looking at technology as a competitive advantage that also looks good on a spreadsheet. And then you’ve got the people sitting in front of their monitors working the interfaces.”

It’s not too hard to make any one of those groups extremely happy, Presti said. However, alienating the other two costs market share, he said.

“Now, it’s really easy for me to say, from the comfort of my desk chair, that you’ve got to make all three groups ecstatic,” he said. “When you do that, certainly life is good. More often, there are tradeoffs, and how you make those tradeoffs is where your level of success comes from. Start by getting close to all three of those groups. While there are never any guarantees, doing so will maximize your odds of cracking the code.”

“The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation plans, making business leaders more aware of any gaps in their legacy communications solutions,” said Ian Kieninger, Avant’s CEO and co-founder. “Needs have changed amid COVID-19, due to stay-at-home orders and remote work. This [report] is designed to inform readers how the UCaaS landscape is changing, facilitate an understanding of what to consider when looking at a unified communications solution and sustain a higher-level dialogue around the technology.”


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