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When the final market tallies are in for 2019, on-premises unified communications systems will account for less than one-third of enterprises’ spending for UC last year.

That’s the bottom line on the Synergy Research data that my colleague Ryan Daily writes about on No Jitter this week. Cloud UC overtook premises spending in 2016, and CPE’s decline has continued apace, according to Synergy.

The big picture—cloud’s growing dominance—isn’t surprising to anyone who’s been paying attention to the market the last several years. Frankly, though, I find the pace of cloud’s growth over premises more rapid than I would have anticipated just a couple of years ago. The general rule is that old technologies never go away as quickly as the hype would suggest—especially when they represent an installed base that likely is fully depreciated and still functional.

But the power of the cloud isn’t just that it offers you a new way of providing old capabilities, letting you swap out like-for-like functionality to hopefully save some money. The real value of the cloud to enterprise communications is that it changes the game in just about every segment of the market. Video, contact centers, and enterprise messaging/team collaboration are just a few of the areas where cloud delivery models have changed what customers can actually achieve and provide for their end users. That means it’s reasonable to ask not just where cloud video, cloud contact center, and cloud UC are heading. It’s reasonable to ask what might next emerge from the cloud that today isn’t necessarily on any enterprise radar screens.

We’ve got a great session at Enterprise Connect 2020 that will explore this issue. Zeus Kerravala of ZK Research will present a session entitled, “Cloud 2023: The Era of Cloud Modernization,” which aims to help attendees understand not just what new service offerings might be coming from the cloud, but how the architecture and technology advances of cloud platforms themselves may drive new types of applications, services, and integrations.

The session is part of our Communications & Collaboration 2023 track, this year’s iteration of our strategic-technology content stream. This track covers a number of markets within enterprise communications—contact center, mobility, cloud—and presents a vision of where these trends will be in three years’ time. This horizon is far enough out to require some strategic insight to perceive, and yet near enough that you can talk about it in realistic terms.

Zeus was really the person who opened our eyes to the potential of the cloud for communications across a three-year time span. We’ve been running the “202X” track for three years now, and it was during our first year, launching this idea, that we really got a good sense from Zeus about why this was such an important perspective. The cloud, he explained to us at the time, wasn’t just about hosting a big piece of call control or other software in a service provider’s datacenter; it was about delivering services out of infrastructure that only a service provider could build at a scale that made the deployment feasible. Cloud-scale resources would enable capabilities like AI to be integrated into communications in the coming years, Zeus told us back in 2017, and boy did he turn out to be right.

It’s this kind of strategic vision that I find most exciting about the Enterprise Connect program each year, and 2020 is no exception. Each of our 10 tracks has a mix of tactical, practical sessions, and strategic focus. We’re very proud of the 60-plus sessions we’ve lined up, and the great experts we have presenting them. I hope you’ll check out our program, and can register to attend the Enterprise Connect 2020 conference. See you in Orlando!

Eric Krapf
GM & Program Co-Chair Enterprise Connect & WorkSpace Connect
Publisher, No Jitter

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