The presentations are starting to come in for Enterprise Connect 2019, which is always one of my major signs that this thing is really going to happen again. Along with my colleagues Beth Schultz and Michelle Burbick, I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks reviewing slides, and I’m getting really excited about our sessions. As always, there’s just a ton of great stuff in there.
A couple of the presentations that stood out for me in the review were from Elka Popova of Frost & Sullivan. Elka focuses on cloud communications, and is doing two sessions on that topic for us this year: Big Brands & Convergence: Understanding the Market Landscape; and UCaaS Bells & Whistles vs. Nuts and Bolts. I won’t steal Elka’s thunder, but I’ll just say that her presentations made it clear to me that cloud communications are now mainstream and part of the new normal.
The data Elka will present makes it clear that cloud communications growth is poised to continue at a hearty rate for the next five years, but that even after that point, almost half the addressable market will still be premises-based. That’s what a massive installed base gets you—a very long transition period.
Elka’s presentations offer a wealth of data and analysis that I won’t get into here. Instead, I want to focus on that underlying fact of a long transition, and what it could mean for the future of the industry—and of your enterprise.
PBXs were 10-year investments, minimum. Cloud communications investments are not. Cloud’s greatest selling point has not been that it’s cheaper (because it isn’t); the big advantage has been agility. You can switch providers if your needs change, or you can add a new provider to offer a subset of the functionality you need, if your current provider lacks that feature or doesn’t do it particularly well or cost-effectively.
The bottom line is that five years from now, half the addressable market will likely be using cloud-based services; but it’s hard to believe that the services they’ll be using will be the same services that lead the market today.
That’s exciting, but it’s also potentially scary. It certainly means you’ll need to know as much about those cloud services as you’d have had to know about a legacy PBX. That’s where the other aspect of our Cloud Communications track comes in: We’ve got some terrific sessions led by expert consultants who will help you make sure you do cloud right. Melissa Swartz of Swartz Consulting has a long list of practical recommendations to share and expand on, in her session, Staying Clear of Cloud Migration Land Mines. And her fellow consultant Dave Stein of Stein Technology Group will help you deal with the constantly-changing cloud environment, in his session, Keeping Your UCaaS Migration on Track. And finally, consultant Robert Harris of Communications Advantage will help you get a handle on Cloud Communications Cost Management.
Put it all together, and add all the other opportunities to learn from your peers, and you can definitely walk away from Enterprise Connect Orlando more confident about facing the fast-changing, increasingly cloud-based future that may lie in front of you. I hope to see you there in just a couple short weeks!