In my last blog post before Pacific Telecom Council’s annual conference, I talked about the importance of adaptability for service providers to continue to thrive amidst the disruption in our industry.
Cloud is probably the biggest disruptive force for service providers today. It has matured to the point where even some of the largest Fortune 100 companies are taking a cloud-first or even cloud-only approach to their IT. Cloud is impacting on all business applications that enterprises rely on day-to-day, including Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC). But how can service providers capitalise on this trend?
Enterprises’ biggest headaches
Enterprises are realising that being nimble and flexible in their business approach is critical for success. With an increasingly mobile workforce, knowledge sharing, virtual teams, near-real-time collaboration, and faster feedback loops are crucial. The strategic imperatives driving enterprises to look increasingly at cloud-based collaboration include the need to improve productivity, shift costs from CAPEX to OPEX, reduce complexity and unifying siloed systems across the business through standardised solutions.
With billions of employees distributed across the globe, and with disparate telephony, conferencing and collaboration solutions, more and more large companies are now realising the need to revisit their UCC strategy to be able serve both their internal and external stakeholders more effectively. And, as cloud adoption surges, leveraging Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) platform solutions such as Microsoft Skype for Business and Cisco Spark offers enterprises an easier path to increasing employee productivity and organisational agility.
What’s in it for service providers?
For service providers, there is an opportunity to harness these global platforms to capture larger, global UCC contracts and offer another business-critical cloud service to their customers. Yet, the challenge is to deliver a consistent Quality of Service (QoS) and Experience (QoE) around the world. This is where partnering can be extremely valuable.
A consistent cloud communications experience can be delivered in London, New York, Singapore and Hong Kong but when it comes to smaller local or regional hubs performance needs to be consistent too. A global UCC partner can extend reach while also guaranteeing performance.
In contrast, with local or regional UCC deployments, levels of service vary. This jeopardises service providers’ ability to match the expectations that enterprises have for their cloud services for an always-available, seamless user experience.
Creating ultra-customised UCC experiences
A fairly new, but quickly growing strategy by enterprises, is APIs. In an effort to have tools that fit their needs perfectly, enterprises are disrupting the UCC market by leveraging APIs to create their own user experiences through unique combinations of applications and functionality. This is set to include both internal and external facing tools, which could feature integration with customer relationship management (CRM) systems, for example, and a whole range of real-time communications solutions.
APIs are also making waves when it comes to how service providers and enterprises interact with each other and with their customers, creating more efficient and customised user experiences. The quote-to-cash time in some areas of UCC has gone down from months to hours and even to an instant. For instance, we are working with several of our partners to help them procure and implement global access numbers in a matter of minutes. By comparison, this can take weeks for many other providers in the market.
With APIs, service providers operating in a market of any size, can leapfrog their competition and redefine their UCC proposition independent of the infrastructure directly owned by them. That is why in order not to miss out on the revenue opportunities that UCC brings, service providers need to explore migrating away from delivering traditional, local, premise-based UCC solutions and instead adding value through cloud and API-enabled integration and customisation.
The power of the right partnerships
Forging the right partnerships empowers even the smallest service providers to offer truly differentiated solutions to their enterprise customers, connecting with API-ready service platforms like ours and supercharging their apps and customer tools with real-time communication applications. It not only ensures a differentiated experience for customers, but also creates a potential source of extra revenue across the entire customer spectrum.
By working with the right UCC partner, service providers are able to address enterprises’ growing needs for secure, borderless collaboration and communication, facilitating digital transformation on a global scale.
How do you see enterprises capitalising on the UCC transformation? Let us know in the comments below.