SMBs Unified Communications Interest is Changing

David Byrd : Byrd's Eye View
David Byrd
Chief Marketing Officer for ANPI

SMBs Unified Communications Interest is Changing

Several years ago I developed a list of the features and benefits that identified the priority SMBs and Enterprises use to assess Unified Communications (UC). For the most part, I believe that the priorities have held up well but two items have certainly been added to the priority list for SMBs. Here is the original list:


SMBs

  • Business Operations Improvement

v   Conferencing

v   Instant messaging

v   Integrated communications for mobile employees

v   Integrated applications/feature set

v   Ease of use

  • Cost savings
  • Productivity Improvements
  • Reliable Service
  • Quality of Service
  • Responsiveness

 

 

 

Enterprise

  • Business Process Improvement

v  Collaboration tools

v  Video conferencing, FMC, Presence, Unified Messaging

v  Better access to resources regardless of device or location

v  Integrated communications for remote facilities

v  Integrated communications for mobile employees

v  Federation

  • ROI/IT resource savings versus TCO
  • Quality of Service
  • Environment stability
  • Risk management, security, access and privacy

The two features that have been gaining ground with the SMBs are integrated mobile phones with their business phone system and collaboration. Mobility is fairly obvious with the continued trend to use mobile phones to communicate while working and the penetration of other mobile devices such tablets and laptops for accessing information. However, it is the adoption of collaboration tools that have surprised me. Granted, collaboration tools are still not used by most SMBs. However, their value to the subset that is using them has increased. They are principally in use by high tech companies, real estate, legal and highly distributed business. For example the garage start up is a paradigm that is shrinking today. A start up today does not require its key resources to be collocated. Rather, it can hire the best talent available from any state or any country. Tools such as video conferencing and desktop sharing become a clear priority for SMBs structured in this fashion.

A very good overview of the benefits of video to small business is Open for Business: SMB Video Conferencing. The list discussed is as follows:

  • Reach out to customers
  • Connect remote employees
  • Speed up decision making:
  • Shorten product development time
  • Train more effectively
  • Align business divisions
  • Work-life balance

According to Frost & Sullivan, the CAGR for conferencing services over the next five-years for SMB revenue is 18.1%, versus 10.8% for enterprises. Simply put, there are millions more SMBs than enterprises. But it should also be noted that SMBs while slow to hosted unified communications are seeing the benefits.



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