By Dan Hastings, Flowroute, now part of Intrado
The cloud remained a pivotal disruptor in the telecom industry throughout 2019. In the fast-paced enterprise communications market, forward-thinking businesses and managed service providers (MSPs) raced to diversify and strengthen product portfolios by integrating cloud-based communication services into their existing offerings. Further, forward-thinking MSPs and channel providers leveraged the cloud to help their enterprise customers grow revenue.
As decision makers look to understand the trends and innovations that will inform IT investments in 2020, MSPs have the opportunity to demonstrate how managed cloud communication services will enable these businesses to deliver value to their target audiences.
Below are three areas of enterprise communications we predict will drive business growth and industry disruption for MSPs and their customers in 2020.
- Voice And Calling Features Will Be In High Demand
The size of the global remote workforce is continuing to grow with more than two-thirds of people around the world working away from the office at least once a week. Workplaces are changing, with employees in need of tools that connect them to team members across various remote locations. To ensure seamless and widespread collaboration for remote workers, businesses must provide secure and high-quality voice and messaging services. MSPs that can offer these capabilities will differentiate themselves by facilitating real-time global collaboration among the workforce, regardless of location.
Further, the rise in remote workers have influenced the adoption of cloud-collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack, which help colleagues stay connected by delivering real-time communications support and improved access to file sharing. Not only do these tools facilitate on-demand collaboration, they are also cost-effective, easy to deploy and require minimal IT maintenance, aside from automated software updates.
We predict businesses will be eager to integrate collaboration tools that increase productivity among workers and grow market share by offering flexibility to work and interact. Going into the new year, we foresee MSPs will invest in ensuring their offerings are backed by the cloud to better support the changing needs of the global business economy.
- MSPs Will Partner With Cloud Providers To Engage Customers
Although the cloud played a central role in enterprise communications in 2019, global cloud adoption is still in its infancy. For example, the U.S. is currently one of the leading countries in the adoption of cloud-based communication tools, yet it only has a market penetration of 18 percent. There is a tremendous opportunity for MSPs and channel providers to gain market share by partnering with contact center as a service (CCaaS) experts, communication platform as a service (CPaaS) suppliers, as well as other cloud-based communication service providers (CSPs) that can facilitate global connectivity in 2020.
Proactive channel players will create strategic partnerships with these communication providers to offer international numbers and VoIP services to end users. These partnerships will enable better connection and engagement among enterprise customers. As businesses look to differentiate their own services with these offerings, we predict they will turn to MSPs with CPaaS and CCaaS expertise that can meet their customers’ demands and optimize end user engagements.
- Customer Service Will Rely On Point-Of-Service Omnichannel Models
Enhanced customer service will be top of mind for businesses looking to get ahead in the new year and keep up with modern users’ preferences. For example, consumers today are increasingly using a variety of communication platforms and touchpoints (i.e. apps, websites and social media platforms) to engage with their favorite brands online. To accomplish this engagement across platforms and touchpoints (known as omni-channel “at the edge”), decision makers are investing in cloud-based communication tools that support connected interactions between businesses, contact centers and their customers.
Additionally, consumers are becoming more tech-savvy and are no longer satisfied with merely having access to a company via its website or a web-based chat bot. Now, consumers expect options and cohesive engagement across these touchpoints.
In 2020, we will see more businesses evaluate every customer-facing touchpoint as well as their CCaaS offerings to ensure interactions between these groups (e.g. business representatives and contact centers) remain unified and in sync. To do this, businesses will need MSPs who can provide the backend support of telecom APIs – a requirement to bring a cohesive omni-channel strategy to their customers.
As the benefits of omni-channel at-the-edge customer communication strategies become more well known among business decision makers, we predict adoption of telecom APIs will grow. Integration of telecom APIs and other technologies that accelerate connection among global companies will drive revenue for businesses and improve overall user experience.
The new year will see consumer preferences and behaviors shape the evolving enterprise telecom landscape. MSPs that optimize cloud-based solutions within their omni-channel customer communication portfolios will be able to forecast end user behaviors to drive innovation and exceed customer demands in 2020 and beyond.
About The Author
Daniel (Dan) Hastings is the director of enterprise solutions for Flowroute, now part of Intrado. He has more than two decades of management experience in the global IT and communications industries. Dan has a track record of transforming business relationships, building global teams and translating customer needs into technical solutions. In his current role, he manages diverse global and technical enterprise customer and vendor relationships.