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UC Roundup: UCaaS Providers in ‘Next Stage’ of COVID-19 Surge

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Unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) providers continue to prosper from the COVID-19-prompted onslaught of remote workforces.

Jay McBain is Forrester’s principal analyst of channel partnerships and alliances. He provides some latest statistics on UCaaS providers:

  • Microsoft reported moving from 44 million to 75 million customers in April alone, and 200 million participants per day.
  • Zoom’s daily participants has exceeded 300 million.
  • Google reports 100 million participants per day.
Forrester's Jay McBain

Forrester’s Jay McBain

“The initial surge in activity has leveled off as we are moving from the triage stage into the next stage,” McBain said. “UCaaS will continue to be a bright spot in an increasingly bleak channel outlook through 2020 into 2021. We don’t expect a full return to business as usual, and there will be a new demand for remote work and digital collaboration moving forward for the next decade.”

Beyond the initial surge in remote work, partners can capitalize on moving customers to cloud infrastructure faster, he said. They also can recognize and secure new threat parameters, and automate customer workflows.

In addition, they can provide enhanced disaster recovery and redundancy protection. And they can engage deeper in business consulting to help customers survive and, later, thrive from this crisis, McBain said.

Raul Castanon is senior analyst of workforce collaboration for 451 Research/S&P Global Market Intelligence. He said it’s too early to tell how the UCaaS landscape will shift. But it’s clear UCaaS providers as a whole have benefited.

S&P Global’s Voice of the Enterprise: Digital Pulse Coronavirus Flash Survey for March shows organizations are investing in supporting technologies for remote work, he said.

451 Research's Raul Castanon-Martinez

451 Research’s Raul Castanon

“Survey results show that the top priority for IT decision-makers in response to the pandemic was employee communications and collaboration (43%), followed by mobile devices and services (37%) and network capacity (32%),” Castanon said. “The anticipation of these increased investments was significantly stronger among larger organizations ($1 billion-plus revenue).”

Work from home also led to user behavior changes that should influence demand for UCaaS providers post COVID-19, Castanon said.

“Prior to the crisis, video conferencing was steadily growing, but adoption was mostly among early adopters, including startups and technology companies,” he said. “The pandemic accelerated adoption practically overnight, not just in the number of users, but also in terms of the number and length of meetings. While this reflects a spike that will probably level off as businesses reopen and employees return to the workplace, it is likely that average use will still be higher than before the pandemic.”

Furthermore, survey results also show the pandemic should cause long-term changes in ways we work, Castanon said.

“Significant portions of respondents expect policies implemented in response to the coronavirus outbreak to be permanent,” he said. “These include …

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