A lot can happen in a year, especially if you’re in the highly competitive UCaaS field.
Last March, our first “CP List” focused on unified-communications-as-a-service providers with analysts and members of Channel Partners’ Editorial Advisory Board sharing their views with us on what it takes to succeed in UCaaS. We’re back with an updated list and fresh views on changes in the competitive landscape during the past year.
Raul Castanon-Martinez, 451 Research’s senior analyst of workforce collaboration, said traditional players increasingly are challenged by emerging players with innovative approaches to business communications and team collaboration.
“I think that, increasingly, this is coming from players in adjacent areas and not necessarily UC,” he said. “For example, team collaboration tools like Slack and Workplace by Facebook are increasingly being used by knowledge workers in lieu of traditional communications (for example, email and UC). I don’t expect UC will entirely be displaced, but we have to come to terms with the fact that a significant amount of traffic that in the past could have been handled by UC, is now diverted to team collaboration.”
|Join 275+ vendors, distributors and master agents – many on this list – in the expo hall by attending the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, April 9-12, in Las Vegas. Register now!|
Jon Arnold, principal analyst at J Arnold & Associates, said everybone is trying to be positioned as a cloud provider, and there’s a distinction between companies that want to be cloud-only versus companies that are cloud-enabled.
“A lot of these companies still have a pretty significant base of premises-based customers and premises-based technologies that they’re selling to those customers, so they can’t just walk away from that business overnight, but they have to stay ready for the future,” he said. “So for them, they have to have a cloud story and the name of the game for them is to figure out ways to transition customers to the cloud for a long-term play because it’s going to be really difficult to remain premises-based exclusively going forward.”
A successful UCaaS provider has built an ecosystem where different partner types can take advantage of downstream opportunities, said Jay McBain, principal analyst of global channels at Forrester and editorial advisory board member.
“Examples include a marketplace where adjacent ISVs and consultants can be found, open APIs where software developers, integration specialists and workflows can be customized, and programs that promote transactional and non-transactional partners with personalized on-boarding, incentives, co-selling and co-marketing opportunities,” he said.
|Our other recently published “top 20” lists include providers of enterprise telephony, SD-WAN, antivirus software, colocation, backup and DR, cloud storage, Ethernet and IoT We also highlighted 20 top channel thought leaders.|
Based on feedback from analysts and editorial advisory board members, and recent news reports, we’ve compiled a list, in alphabetical order, of 20 top UCaaS providers that are making the most of the current competitive landscape and charting success. The list offers a mix of well-known providers as well as lesser-known companies that are making big strides in UCaaS.
Castanon-Martinez and McBain said 8×8 remains a successful, cutting-edge UCaaS provider. Last week, 8×8 unveiled its new Meetings experience that provides video communication with voice, chat and one-touch conferencing. The solution provides a video collaboration platform supporting voice and video on any device on the 8×8 cloud-first environment, which is globally scalable with a server architecture built for WebRTC.
Castanon-Martinez said Amazon Web Services (AWS) belongs on the list of successful providers. Alexa for Business is one of the ways AWS is making a strong push into the enterprise space, and they’re using artificial intelligence (AI) to automate running meetings, Arnold said.
“Security for all cloud solutions continues to gain attention and increased requirements,” said Julie Dzubay, WTG’s vice president of sales operations, and editorial advisory board member. “Innovative ideas for securing data, improving performance, ease of doing business and providing business insights through data analytics are becoming more important in the decision-making process.”
(list continued on next page)