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Research: 2019 and 2020 Platform and Market Segment Trends for the Cloud Communications Industry

December 28, 2020

Each year, the Cloud Communications Alliance (CCA) conducts industry research in conjunction with Cavell to analyze the state of the cloud communications market and forecast market trends where possible. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has obviously changed the course for the industry – something our research has corroborated in several categories.

The cloud communications market’s offerings have been thrust on businesses and users who had given them minimal thought before. The world is being confronted with the value of cloud communications technologies, and our research exposes how service providers and vendors are dealing with these changes. Below, we dive into the data we’ve collected on the year-over-year shift in platform usage as well as market segment growth.

2019 Platform Usage Versus 2020

In 2019, approximately 32% of providers used proprietary self-built platforms, and many others had more than one type to draw upon. Self-built platforms were expected to grow in popularity, but that trend has not exactly continued into 2020 – mainly because of unforeseen shifts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic caused providers to pivot a bit on their platforms in 2020. While self-built platforms still play a prominent role, their growth has slowed somewhat. With Cisco’s and WebEx’s combined shares of the platform stage, Cisco maintains the overall market share lead – even as providers have started offering wholesale options.

In the UK and Europe, there is widespread choice among regional vendors. The data uncovered 16 different platforms from the providers.

While there is much buzz about the self-built platform, it’s important to note that the data showed 66% of providers were happy with their platforms and have no plans to change in 2020. Providers that are open to moving platforms are doing so because they are looking for differentiation through collaboration. This data is especially important for platform providers that stand to gain by offering collaboration and satisfying that market demand.  

2019 Market Segments Versus 2020

In 2019, 40% of providers were moving upmarket to target the large enterprise segment consisting of businesses with 1000+ users. While just over 90% of providers noted they were currently successfully targeting the mid-market sector (100-999 users), only about 5% reported looking at that market for future targeting. Providers were certainly more narrow in their scopes last year – with the spotlight on larger enterprises compared to 2020’s data.

In 2020, providers are still focusing on going upmarket, but the majority of sales are expected to come from the 10-99 (SME) segment. (2019’s data showed around 95% investment in that market at the time, but no projected focus reported by providers.) While the enterprise is still a focus, providers have clearly widened their scopes to include the SME. 

Providers have now also said they are looking to that SME market over the next 24 months. The mid-market sector will remain a healthy target for providers.

Looking Ahead Into 2021 and Beyond

As the pandemic continues, it is uncertain when and where the next shifts may occur. The CCA and Cavell have put together an in-depth ebook that details all of our research – well beyond the platforms and market segments discussed above. Use it to learn about channels that are trending, industry reactions to COVID-19, and other key findings. Download it here to get this key information that will help you navigate our industry in the coming year.

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