IDC’s recently released “Unified Communication & Collaboration (UC&C) Market Analysis and Forecast, 2013 – 2018” report shows that the Australian (UC&C) equipment market declined 2.9% in 2013 year-on-year (YoY). The decline was due to a slowdown in spending of telephony and videoconferencing due to the poorer business sentiment. Companies were either reducing their spending in equipment hardware or taking longer to make a decision on hardware investment.
This study is based on IDC’s UC&C tracker which captures the market share of various vendors including Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Cisco, Genesys, IBM, Lifesize, Microsoft, Mitel, ShoreTel and Siemens. IDC had conducted numerous interviews with these vendors as well as service providers such as NEC, Optus, Telstra, and UXC Connect.
Whist the spending in telephony and videoconferencing slowed down, collaboration and contact centre applications grew. IDC believes there is potential for growth as companies deploy UC&C tools to gain competitive advantages — from offering better customer service through the use of multichannel contact centre, to improving speed to market by enabling staff and business partners to collaborate better.
The growth in the UC&C equipment is expected to be modest, at 3.3% compound annual growth rate from 2013 to 2018. However, there are also plenty of opportunities for service providers and vendors to offer professional services to help customers overcome challenges to ensure a successful implementation. IDC’s Communications and WAN Survey 2013 shows that only 40% of the respondents were very satisfied with their UC&C implementation and achieving the transformation across the business. Some challenges companies faced include the complexity of integrating separate platforms, justification of the return-on-investment ROI), and the development of in-house expertise to maintain the systems.
"There has been tremendous innovation in UC&C solutions resulting in products that are more affordable and easier to use, which will start to drive adoption. We are seeing a rapid shift of demand from hardware-based on-premise UC&C solutions to software-based and cloud-based solutions as companies look for greater flexibility, cost efficiency, and less technology to manage," says Siow-Meng Soh, Research Manager, IDC Australia.
Organisations are also starting to adopt more UC&C features particularly mobility and conferencing. In the contact centre environment, features such as call recording, voice analytics and workforce management are also becoming more common. IDC expects UC&C adoption to grow since competition, particularly from software vendors (IBM and Microsoft) and cloud providers (Google and BlueJeans), is forcing vendors to innovate and to be more price competitive. In particular, vendors are partnering with service providers to offer UC-as-a-service.
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