Key Takeaways from Enterprise Connect 2016

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By Brad Dupee, SVP Business Markets, For Business

You may have thought that 2016 was the Year of the Monkey — and you’d be right — if you didn’t have the opportunity to attend last week’s Enterprise Connect conference in Orlando, Fla. Yet as For Business™ or any other event-goer could tell you, we are now living in the “Year of the Cloud”.

According to keynote and session speakers alike, enterprise communications is in a state of transformation. While we’ve heard about cloud and hybrid solutions for the last several years, the trends at Enterprise Connect indicate that we’ve rounded the bend. Service providers are moving full speed ahead into cloud-based offerings. As Michelle Burbick of No Jitter noted, “transformational speak seemed to keep coming back to cloud…all at once, everybody is ready to at least consider cloud solutions, if not go full-in on it.”

Cloud-based solutions offer lower cost, lower maintenance and faster deployment times for a range of Unified Communications (UC) solutions, including:

  • Mobility
  • App development
  • Software
  • Services

Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) is freeing up the business conferencing space, particularly for those enterprises looking to the cloud to become more agile and cut costs. "We're seeing a strong interest in UCaaS, primarily as a means to improve flexibility and agility, both in how companies buy licenses and in how they can take advantage of emerging capabilities," explained Irwin Lazar, Nemertes Research analyst. "Reducing upfront capital cost is a major buying factor."

Frost & Sullivan researchers agree and see the effects this shift to the cloud and towards UCaaS has in business conference call services. “The landscape is changing for mid-sized and large companies that are looking for high-quality, affordable alternatives to their existing conferencing services. There are now options available at very low costs that don’t ask organizations to compromise on necessary user experience, security, reliability or other business requirements.” For Business is poised to help enterprises take advantage of this evolution. The cloud-based service is transforming the traditional approach to conferencing by offering free audio conferencing and online meetings with a low monthly managed services fee. This pricing model allows users to take advantage of a single platform for conference calls, screen sharing and/or video meetings, depending on their collaboration requirements. Enterprises get a fixed monthly invoice and no longer have to worry about being charged for functionality that isn’t used. The managed services include add-ons that give IT teams more control over the user experience, such as dedicated bridges and dial-in numbers, white-label branding and analytics.

Did you attend Enterprise Connect? If so, what was your biggest takeaway or “A-ha!” moment? Tell us in the comments section below.

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