Comparing Routes to Market and Service Offerings in the Cloud Communications Industry: 2019 - 2020

Driven by an increase in adoption during the pandemic, worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is set to grow 18.4%, from $257.5 billion in 2020 to  $304.9 billion in 2021, predicts Gartner, Inc. Yet how are cloud service providers and vendors responding to this profound growth? A new ebook from the Cloud Communications Alliance (CCA) shines a light on major changes among providers impacted by the skyrocketing cloud demand – as customers recognize the cloud as a short-term, business-saving solution and a more flexible and global way of doing business for the long-term. In this original research dubbed “The State of the Cloud Communications Market: A Comparison,” we contrast the results of membership surveys about attitudes, trends, and forecasts conducted in 2019 and again in July of 2020 – several months into the pandemic. Presenting side-by-side data unavailable anywhere else, the report delves into how the cloud communications industry is responding across current and future services, sales channels, platforms, market focus, strategic initiatives, and more.

What Channels Are Trending?

Work-from-home during the pandemic has sparked a shift in providers' channel future focus to online sales and self-activation efforts, according to our report. Device ubiquity is a major factor here, too. Providers are taking big steps to bring self-service portals and self-activation tools to fruition for facilitating virtual sales. Most routes to market still combine master agent and direct-to-agent channels. Yet the percentage of sales made through online channels nearly doubled from 5% to 9% from 2019 to 2020.

Service Offerings – Current and Future

With so many people working from home, providers have aimed to offer new remote collaboration services. In 2020, 70% are offering these services. Microsoft Teams has jumped ahead as a service offering, while communications platform as a service (CPaaS) took a bit of a backseat. (It's still an offering with 53% of providers, but it was thought to see more investment in 2020.) Perception of Microsoft as a major key competitor continues to hold true among many providers today while Slack's and Google’s perceived competitiveness slipped substantially year over year. The 2020 survey also introduces two new categories for types of cloud communications services. A total of 50% of providers report offering Microsoft Teams Direct Routing, while 52% offer Client Microsoft Team Integration. Still, investment in software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) is steady in 2020 at 52%, despite the pandemic. Providers will consistently be looking to SD-WAN to control quality of service. 

Platform Providers Take Note: Service Providers Are Looking for Differentiation 

A total of 28% of cloud communications providers are looking for differentiation and increased functionality around collaboration from cloud platform providers. They are willing to switch platforms to reach that goal, so platform providers would do well to note such findings! What else can you learn about what’s happening with cloud communications providers? Which cloud providers are leading the way? What kinds of new services can we expect to see over the next two years? (Hint: More standalone video conferencing services is one of them.) Download the CCA’s ebook to find out more.
Cloud Communications Alliance

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