TURNS OUT small and medium-size businesses are just like their larger brethren when it comes to mobility and distributed offices, and it’s driving increased need for communications and collaboration technology.
That’s according to joint research from Techaisle, an SMB market research firm, and Intermedia, a cloud communications and collaboration provider in Mountain View, Calif. On average, the study shows, SMBs have 2.4 office locations; 91 percent of them have mobile employees as well. It’s no wonder that the adoption rate of unified communications (UC) and unified communications as a service (UCaaS) continues to grow.
Indeed, 40 percent of SMBs are using some form of collaboration solution at present, the study finds, up from 32 percent two years ago. Mobility for cost savings and increased market reach are the top two motivators for those investments, with respondents stating that improved productivity is connected to being able to establish better ways of working.
In addition to voice communications, the five most commonly used communication and collaboration solutions today are productivity software, file/document management and sharing, web conferencing, videoconferencing, and instant messaging.
When purchasing UC and UCaaS solutions, reliability is the top consideration among buyers (63 percent), followed by price, features, quality, and support. Not surprisingly, then, the study finds that the No. 1 reason SMBs switch hosted VoIP providers is call quality issues (46 percent), while cost (33 percent) and support (29 percent) are also factors.
For 2019, SMBs surveyed say the top three UC solutions they plan to use are team collaboration (31 percent), dedicated room-based videoconferencing (29 percent), and hosted VoIP (27 percent).
Now here’s the key finding from the survey that channels pros should note: Less than half (44 percent) of all SMBs and 38 percent of SMBs with more than two office locations have full-time, internal, dedicated IT staff. With the North American hosted IP telephony and UCaaS market expected to reach $14.83 billion by 2023, according to a separate 2017 Frost & Sullivan study, the opportunity to step in as a trusted adviser seems immense.
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