- According to our recent analysis of global IP telephony and unified communications service providers, UCaaS is a key component of their cloud investment and rollout plans. This is typically based on the Cisco HCS platform and/or Microsoft Lync and sold on a per-seat basis with a choice of feature packages.
- All major carriers are investing in UCaaS, as the cloud and network are important for providing end-to-end service and SLAs. According to our research, IT service providers and system integrators are slower off the mark with UCaaS platforms such as HCS and tend to focus on private cloud solutions.
Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) provides customers with instant messaging, presence, audio, video and Web conferencing, and enterprise voice on a monthly ‘pay-per-user’ basis. Typically, customers have a choice of feature packages that can be tailored to different users.
The appeal of UCaaS is the appeal of cloud; it does not involve a significant capital investment, yet companies can roll out sophisticated communications and collaboration features to their workforce, give employees at a remote site the same tools as those working at HQ and, importantly, scale up and down to adjust services (and therefore costs) in line with changing workforce numbers.
From our recent analysis of global IP telephony and UC service providers, it appears that a two-horse UCaaS race is emerging: Cisco HCS vs. Microsoft Lync. The majority of large global providers appear to be giving customers a choice between the two, ensuring that they can support both HCS and Lync with a differentiated service wrap and customer self-service portal with administrator and end user tools and functionality.
We have long expected hosted IP telephony and UC solutions to take off with enterprise customers, and we are now seeing real evidence that customers are buying:
– Telefonica just closed one of the largest Cisco HCS deals we have seen to date for 60,000 seats.
– BT has completed its first sale of BT One Cloud for Microsoft Lync to a global energy company; BT will design, install and integrate the service for 10,000 Microsoft Lync seats globally.
– Orange Business Services has reference customers for UCaaS from both vendors: 3,400 Cisco HCS seats for Danone and 8,000 Microsoft Lync seats for Gemalto.
We will continue to track UCaaS seats sold as service providers such as AT&T, Verizon, Vodafone and NTT ramp up their global plans.