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No Jitter Research: 2017 Cloud Communications Survey

  • For the third year running, No Jitter has taken the pulse of our enterprise audience regarding the use of and attitude toward cloud communications services. The 2017 survey, conducted in July and August, drew responses from 205 enterprise IT professionals, roughly 60% of whom use one or more cloud communications services.

    Year-over-year analysis shows use of UC-as-a-service (UCaaS) options on a strong upward trend, as well as continued interest in contact center-as-a-service (CCaaS) and cloud-based PBX/call control services. Click through for an deeper dive at these and other findings.

  • As-a-Service as Preferred Choice
    As has been the case since our inaugural Cloud Communications Survey in 2015, 2017 data shows that enterprises favor a cloud deployment model in which the provider owns, operates, and maintains the communications software in the provider's own or public cloud infrastructure, as would be the case with UCaaS, for example. By the numbers, 56% of this year's 205 enterprise respondents overall said they are using communications services delivered in this manner. This model comes out on top no matter company size, with 55% of large enterprises (1,000 or more employees), 63% of medium-sized companies (100 to 999 employees), and 52% of small companies (99 or fewer employees) using the as-a-service model for delivery of communications functionality from the cloud.

    Comparatively, 35% of the total enterprise respondent base said they're hosting their own software on a provider's cloud infrastructure. By company size, 42% of respondents at large enterprises said they host their own communications software in a provider's cloud with a quarter of respondents at medium-sized and small companies doing so.

    Because enterprises have gravitated toward the as-a-service model, data shared in the remainder of this survey slideshow comes from analysis of that respondent base.

  • Top 3 Reasons for Cloud Choice
    As in previous years, no single reason for moving to the cloud jumps out as the most compelling, but agility, TCO, and access to features and functions that couldn't be implemented on internal systems earned higher votes than other criteria. System resiliency/disaster recovery (in last year's top three), came in at the number five slot overall, behind the ability to take advantage of an opex pricing model. For enterprises with more than 1,000 employees, lack of adequate IT/communications staff tied with access to features and functions for the number three slot.

  • Cloud Conferencing Tops All
    That video (47%), Web (43%), and audio (43%) conferencing are the three most-used cloud communications services for enterprises in 2017 comes as no surprise, as these results are consistent from 2015 and 2016. But growth remains relatively flat from 2016 to 2017, as it did from 2015 to 2016.

  • PBX, Contact Center, UC
    Enterprise use of cloud communications continues to grow, slowly but surely. The biggest area of growth, as shown above, is in the use of PBX/call control/telephony services, jumping from 20% in 2015 to 32% this year. Growth in contact center and UC services (not broken out in the 2015 survey) is increasing, but not at such a dramatic pace.

  • In the Business and in the Contact Center
    How does the 12% increase in respondent organizations’ use of cloud PBX services overall shakeout? We can see a minimal uptick in the middle range of 100 to 999 users, and a slightly higher increase, at 5%, at the high end of 1,000 or more users. And while the year-over-year growth in use of cloud contact center services has been relatively flat, as shown on the previous slide, the number of agents supported by these services has been growing -- a 13% increase over 2016 for organizations with 1,000 or more agents using cloud contact center services.

    Editor's Note: This slide has been updated from original posting.

  • What's Coming Next
    Slightly more than 70% of all respondents -- and 75% of those at companies with 1,000 or more employees -- indicated they anticipate bringing more communications services into their current cloud mixes within the next 12 months. We'll see increases in all service types, with the largest growth expected in cloud video (38%). PBX/call control/telephony, UC, and audio conferencing services follow, with nearly one-third of respondents indicating they'll add those functionalities to their cloud portfolios in the next 12 months.

    Additionally, our research shows that what's in the cloud will stay there. Most enterprises (78%) said they don't plan on moving any of their cloud communications apps in-house.

  • Looking at Cost
    Of those respondents who said they have a handle on total cost of ownership (TCO), nearly two-thirds (63%) said the overall TCO for hosted cloud communications services is lower than they expected. That carries through when looking at the question on a function-by-function basis, with no single function having a higher TCO than anticipated.

  • Fewer the Better?
    Whether large or small, enterprises turn to just one or two providers for their cloud communications services, with 61% of large enterprises, 64% of medium-sized companies, and 70% of small businesses reporting as much.

    Among large enterprises, 51% indicated that the number of cloud communications providers they use has remained the same as in 2016, while 44% said they've increased the number of providers from which they get communications functionality. Those percentages come in at 45% and 42% respectively for medium-sized companies and 74% and 26% respectively for small businesses.

  • Legacy Perspective
    Roughly one-quarter of respondents indicated their plans to migrate all users to hosted communications services based on a platform other than their incumbent vendor or vendors. Another 16% said they'll keep what they have on premises but add in hosted cloud communications services from a different vendor. Comparatively, 58% of respondents said they'd either be migrating all users to a cloud-based hosted communications service from an incumbent or use a hybrid of an incumbent's on-premises and hosted offerings. Incumbents have the edge, but not by too wide of a margin.

    The balance tips slightly away from an incumbent's favor for large enterprises, with only 54% of respondents at companies with more than 1,000 employees indicating they'd be moving forward into the cloud with their legacy communications platform providers.

    Unsurprisingly given what we know from industry market share figures, 50% of respondents named Cisco and Microsoft as their incumbent vendors of core on-premises UC platforms. Next up is Avaya, at 28%.

  • Some of This, Some of That
    As we learned in the previous slide, 42% of respondents see hybrid cloud deployments in their futures, whether by combining hosted and premises-based versions from incumbent vendors or mixing up a legacy on-premises platform with cloud services from a different provider. Yet when asked to rate the importance of a hybrid cloud deployment option, only about 20% of respondents said they felt the hybrid option was fairly to very important. Half of the respondents, on the other hand, said they felt hybrid was either only slightly important or not at all important. That percentage has increased over 2016, when only 42% said hybrid was slightly or not at all important.

  • Learn More About Cloud Communications
    Keep on top of our ongoing cloud coverage here, and explore cloud communications with us in-depth at Enterprise Connect 2018, taking place March 12 to 15 in Orlando, Fla. Stay tuned for details on our Cloud Communications track here, and register today with code NOJITTER to receive $200 off an Entire Event pass or a free Expo Plus pass.

Explore the results of No Jitter’s third-annual cloud communications survey.