Evaluating The Future of Cloud Communications Services in the Era of Hybrid Work
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated certain work-style trends that have slowly been picking up steam over decades. The current massive shift to remote and hybrid work is the result of both recent health and safety measures and long-standing trends such as globalization and employee demand for work-life balance, which have given rise to increasingly distributed workforces and even fully “virtual” organizations.
Technology advancements in the areas of broadband and cellular connectivity, cloud services and software-based communications and collaboration solutions have enabled many desk-based employees to work remotely—occasionally, part-time or full-time—over the years. With the current mindset to much more consciously shift to hybrid-work models, adoption of flexible, cloud-based collaboration services is rising among organizations of varying sizes, industries and world regions.
Business leaders and other technology investment decision makers are re-evaluating their companies’ current technology capabilities and future roadmaps. Disparate, non-integrated and often antiquated communications solutions, whether deployed over many years or throughout the pandemic, are ripe for upgrades, consolidation and better alignment with future business goals.
As organizations develop strategies to rationalize their communications environments, they often look to eliminate solutions that are perceived as dated or redundant. More specifically, with the shift to work from home and the astronomical adoption of cloud video meetings and team collaboration tools, the role of private branch exchange (PBX) functionality and public telephone switched network (PSTN) access has come into question. Technology buyers and vendors alike are looking to ascertain whether today’s workers need more traditional calling solutions, as multi-modal, increasingly affordable, mobile-ready (i.e., accessible on any connected device) collaboration services enable internal and external, as well as one-to-one and multi-party interactions.
The primary purpose of this study is to gain a perspective on key transformational trends taking place in the business communications and collaboration space. By surveying IT/telecom decision makers, we set out to understand the decision-making factors when purchasing and deploying communications and collaboration solutions, with a specific focus on changing user preferences for different communications modalities.
An objective of the study was to prove or disprove the hypothesis that the PBX and the PSTN are becoming obsolete as a result of new trends including:
• the massive shift to remote/hybrid work
• the growing adoption of cloud meetings and messaging solutions
• the increasing usage of consumer (mostly mobile) services for business purposes
We also expected to find a correlation between the number of desk workers in organizations and organizations’ demand and preferences for PBX features, PSTN access, and other communications and collaboration capabilities. In some instances, the survey data revealed significant differences across organizations with different proportions of desk workers.
KEY ISSUES ADDRESSED:
Do businesses still value the traditional PBX feature set? If so, which common features are must-have vs. nice-to-have vs. irrelevant?
Is PSTN access required for all users today and how will that change two years from now?
Which UC/UCaaS services (e.g., PBX, PSTN calling, presence, video, file share, mobility) do decision makers find most valuable for their business or organization?
Are collaboration (meetings + team messaging) tools presently used or under evaluation for future use as primary communications solutions for certain worker types with the objective of replacing traditional UC/UCaaS solutions?
What is the importance of messaging, meetings and PBX capabilities for frontline workers?
Do frontline workers need PSTN calling or only internal calling?
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