Global Investment Priorities in the Communication and Collaboration Space, According to Frost & Sullivan
Cloud applications will be the main focus for post-pandemic investment; in the next two years, cybersecurity will represent a key technology focal area
Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Communications and Collaboration Investment Priorities, finds that addressing COVID-19-related challenges is the main business goal for organizations in 2021, followed by improving customer experience (CX) and operational efficiencies. The ubiquitous rise in remote work and the shift to virtual customer engagement due to elevated employee and customer safety concerns during the pandemic have also spurred digital transformations across industries and geographies. The call for business continuity has highlighted the need for robust collaboration-driven tools such as video conferencing, team spaces, and broader unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) suites.
“COVID-19 has expedited technology investments for multiple businesses. Adapting to new work modes and increasing digital customer engagement represent key digital transformation objectives driven by the pandemic,” said Elka Popova, Information & Communication Technology Principal Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “An anticipated increase of IT/telecom budgets in 2021 by 27% on average indicates that vendors and service providers must be prepared to meet specific customer requirements to capitalize on the opportunity and business use cases.”
Popova added, “Technology developers and service providers must deliver solutions that align with current business priorities and create possibilities to address future technology requirements. This could involve offering flexible pricing options, which are particularly important during COVID-19 and the economic downturn, or creative bundles with value-added services, such as security or connectivity, that can enable differentiation in the long term as well.”
Key study findings include:
- 43% of organizations felt that managing COVID-19 challenges far outranks other business goals in 2021, followed by improving the customer experience (32%) and delivering operational efficiencies (28%).
- COVID-19 accelerated technology investments for more (46%) businesses than it slowed down (28%). Cloud applications (29%) will be the main focus for post-pandemic investments, but in the next two years, cybersecurity (50%) will represent a key technology focal area.
- More businesses have moved enterprise telephony (39%) and video conferencing (54%) workloads to the cloud, in line with explosive growth in cloud communications and collaboration services during the pandemic.
- Investments in advanced collaboration tools such as team messaging, video conferencing, webinars and UC soft clients will have been made by a vast majority (80% or more) of businesses by 2022. Benefits include improved customer experience, information management, team collaboration and remote work (all at 27%).
- Companies are largely making investments in AI because of its ability to improve the quality of products (33%) and gain a competitive edge (28%).
- In the selection and implementation of mobile applications for workers, businesses favor software vendors (34%) to carriers (24%), systems integrators (22%) and mobile device manufacturers (17%).
- Over half of respondents felt security (60%) and reliability (59%) were most important when evaluating a communications and collaboration solution provider. For more than one-half of respondents, provider customer care is also essential.
Communications and Collaboration Investment Priorities is the latest addition to Frost & Sullivan’s Information & Communication Technology research and analyses available through the Frost & Sullivan Leadership Council, which helps organizations identify a continuous flow of growth opportunities to succeed in an unpredictable future. The research was conducted with 1,129 decision-makers across four regions.