Tipsheet: You Can Make Better Decisions by Understanding the Key Trends Impacting Enterprise Communications

In a previous blog discussing the market for enterprise communications, we looked in the rearview mirror at the changes in the industry throughout history. Today, we’re peering into a crystal ball and looking at the trends that are impacting your enterprise communications investment decisions today, and into the future.

Working with Wainhouse Research, we’ve gained insight into the cloud-based relationship management market and found there are a number of key trends and ongoing advancements within the enterprise communications industry driven by a combination of consumer and enterprise software and technology advancements. Based on the infographic below, here’s an overview of the top trends and the benefits of those trends for the user and IT.

Cloud Services We were not shocked to find out that enterprise communications vendors are increasingly delivering new solutions and more advanced features in a cloud-first model. In fact, we were a pioneer in this effort. Cloud services are so popular with IT because it ultimately results in lower costs and support hassles, as cloud-based communications are easier to deploy, support, and maintain over time.

Modular Design and Continuous Release Modular software design techniques have increased the stability of complex platforms, provides users with a current and quickly evolving application experience and provides IT the ability to deliver faster upgrades with less downtime, and lower support overhead.

Hybrid Support – Even though cloud services is a leading trend, there’s still an installed base of on-premise systems, which means hybrid deployments will be another trend. Hybrid enterprise communications systems often refer to advanced platforms capable of leveraging the cloud to deliver application functionality that also leverage on-premises PBX’s for call routing.

API Flexibility A growing number of cloud solutions provide API access to specific communications features like voice, SMS, video, and collaboration. Known as communications platform as a service (CPaaS), these solutions enable a software development team to create custom communications-enabled applications without the need for specialized tools or expertise.

Obviously Intuitive User ExperienceWhy did this take so long?! Successful applications are becoming intuitively obvious, enabling users to adopt the service without need for training. This is tricky with complex software functionality, but the benefits to the enterprise are the same as those to consumers – faster deployment, increased device flexibility, and minimal training and support requirements.

Billing Model EvolutionA growing number of vendors now offer try-before-you-buy “freemium” billing models – providing a base set of features at no cost with payment for value added features. In all cases, the evolution of enterprise billing models has enabled more enterprise users to leverage new and emerging applications more cost effectively than ever before.

Integration with the Internet of Things (IoT)IoT sensors will be able to trigger communications features based on alerts or alarms from the systems they are monitoring. The most familiar example is sending a text message to communicate an alarm. Other examples are beginning to emerge, such as a conferencing bridge automatically calling out to key support personnel when a business-critical server goes offline.

Rise of the BotsIn the world of enterprise communications, bots often appear as intelligent helpers who can answer questions or enable services for a user. These bots often appear like a standard contact to the user in say an instant messaging interface, able to respond to a set of text-based commands or questions.

Analytics –  The industry is just beginning to understand how important communications-based data will be moving forward. The intersection between communications, operational, and business outcome data will create an array of new key performance indicators, enabling the enterprise to effectively map communications habits into productivity metrics.

Understanding the key trends and ongoing advancements within the enterprise communications industry is a fundamental step towards a successful transition to the latest communications software and technology. You can download the report here for more on each of these trends and stay tuned for more great information from ALE and Wainhouse Research!

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