The use of communication services is nothing new within the world of business. Since audio and video conferencing emerged in the early 2000’s, they’ve become a key feature to business success. Early iterations of VoIP products like Cisco, Avaya and Nortel created a new way of calling by using broadband internet connections and desktop computers, before developing into instant messaging services like Skype and Slack that were largely adopted in the past decade.
Now, we’re entering into yet another new way of working as the market has shifted past the era of only needing instant chat and voice calls. Cloud-based Unified Communication and Collaboration (UCC) meets the now crucial demand of businesses for collaboration tools featuring video, instant chat, voice, mobile, recordings, file sharing and more. The switch to home working and restricted face-to-face meetings over the past twelve months has meant that businesses need to have UCC in place to stay engaged not only with customers and prospects, but with internal teams and peers. Users are looking for seamless and easy-to-use solutions that integrate between applications like CRMs, company directories, emails, telephony and more while emulating the ease that once came with sharing an office with colleagues.
UCC has also been a game changer in the fact it is now possible to combine what would have previously required multiple applications and interfaces into one consistent interface used across the business. This means ease of use and training and less likelihood of issues arising on certain applications – with all communications integrated into a single platform, you will have less potential failure points and risks of error, reducing the need for constant help from IT departments. It’s also no surprise that some of the biggest names in the telecommunications space are leaders in UCC solutions; Cisco, Microsoft and Google to name a few all have their own UCC product, which has mean that users typically have experience using similar or the same products, and therefore don’t require as much training.
On top of this, with the majority of UCC applications being cloud-based, it has allowed employees to access their work and communicate throughout the business on their phone, laptop or tablet from wherever they are. In the quick shift to working from home due to Covid-19 and lockdowns, organisations have worked towards a cloud-first mentality, moving away from localised and dedicated hardware to virtualised and cloud-based servers, like Amazon Webservices, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, and again stressing the need for cloud-based UCC.
What’s next in the world of Unified Communications?
Although it’s been around for some time, the market is continuing to grow rapidly and, according to Grand View Research, the market size will grow to USD143.39 billion by 2024 – showing a CAGR of 16.8%. With new features and ways to collaborate and communicate being introduced all the time, this will continue to evolve and change the world of Unified Communications.
What does this mean for recruitment?
While setting up, configuring and supporting applications like Teams, Skype and Zoom are part of a 2ndor 3rdLine Support Engineers’ role, it has become a bigger focus and larger organisations are beginning to create new roles for Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams Engineers. This will be an area which will continue to grow and the requirement for Engineers with this skillset, for both contract and permanent, will be highly in demand.