2020 and early 2021 will be a make-it-or-break-it period for many businesses. A staggering 100,000+ small businesses have already closed their doors forever since the pandemic escalated in March, reports the The Washington Post. Sadly, big businesses are closing their doors, too, and Forbes predicts retail bankruptcies could go from bad to worse in 2021.
Despite this climate of uncertainty, business researchers and analysts say there are definitive actions that companies can take right now to help shape their future. In a recent TechTarget article, industry analyst Zeus Kerravala says that by making the right investments in business communications, organizations can "...step on the gas and move faster than their competitors" post-pandemic.
According to IBM Institute for Business Value’s special report titled Beyond the Great Lockdown: Emerging Stronger to a Different Normal, companies can prepare a path forward by addressing critical imperatives such as:
- Empowering a remote workforce
- Engaging customers virtually
- Accelerating agility and efficiency
- Reducing operational costs
Empowerment of a remote workforce requires tools that enable them to stay in touch with each other and with customers--whether in the office, working remotely, or on-the-go with their mobiles. Engaging customers virtually means giving them alternatives to a storefront experience, such as enabling virtual assistants and work-from-home agents to provide support. To accelerate agility and efficiency, and to reduce operational costs, IBM says, “mission-critical operations and assets [must] move exclusively to the cloud.”
In thinking through how to deliver on these initiatives, you’ll see a common thread. Each highlights the need for a cloud-based unified communications (UC) system.
When you begin to research options for a cloud-based UC provider, you’ll be elbowing your way through the crowd. Computer Weekly says customer interest in UCaaS has spiked 86% in the midst of the pandemic as companies across all industries modernize their communications systems. TechTarget cites a Gartner projection that anticipates 90% of all new UC purchases will be cloud-based systems by 2021.
All this research makes it pretty clear that moving to cloud-based unified communications should be high on your priority list. Now the question at hand is this: does it make sense to move your telephony to the cloud, and then tackle the contact center later? In a word - no. Analysts recommend you select a vendor that can do both.
Omdia Senior Research Director Diane Meyers remarks that to properly address today’s new realities, companies are zeroing in on the ‘as-a-service’ model for both unified communications and the contact center. Rather than struggling to integrate disparate solutions—what some call “best of breed”--in this NoJitter article Meyers advises, “...the unified approach – working with one vendor, one provider, to bring it all together.”
This approach is echoed by COMMfusion President and Principal Analyst Blair Pleasant in her article Reassess. Establish Partnerships. Consolidate. Pleasant says, "Enterprise customers have found it is easier to manage an at-home workforce with a single-vendor platform, and those providing communications, collaboration, and contact center solutions will continue to gain popularity."
Additionally, in a cross-industry study involving 300 enterprise technology leaders, Avant assessed the state of digital transformation efforts and the rate at which disruptive technologies are replacing legacy tools. Avant concluded that, “In an enterprise climate where disruption is the norm, businesses live or die by their ability to meet constantly evolving conditions. Those that stay ahead of change — that anticipate it, evolve with it, and even help facilitate it — experience lasting success. Those that fail to adapt don’t stay afloat.”
Reach out today to see firsthand how Edify can help your business stay afloat and thrive with a cloud-native, all-in-one business communications solution that spans UCaaS, CCaaS, and CPaaS.