More often than not, SMBs opt out of the full UC solution and patch together a mix from fragmented offerings.
While deployment of full or
complete unified communications solutions in North America is low, adoption of
its individual components is actually rather high, according to AMI-Partners'
"2011-2012 North America SMB Unified Communications Overview."
More than half of small and
midsize businesses (with one to 999 employees) are using at least one
individual UC component, rather than a complete solution. The report noted that
the discrepancy indicates a need for a better-segmented product bundle.
"SMBs in North America
have shown resistance to adopting full UC solutions, not realizing that they
already pay for a number of the individual components," says Brian Galgay,
manager of cloud at AMI. "The challenge is guiding these SMBs to the full
solution. Once SMBs break the initial pay barrier, up-selling from a basic
solution to a fully integrated UC solution will need guidance and structure."
North American SMB service
providers wishing to compete for this opportunity need to segment their UC
portfolio, targeting a range of SMBs from basic single-point solutions users to
full UC solution customers and all segments in between, Galgay said. Most
providers today offer either a full UC suite or only operate in specialized
areas of voice, conferencing, or messaging services.
More often than not, SMBs
opt out of the full UC solution and patch together a mix from these fragmented
"Most SMBs need several
UC components on a daily basis, but not necessarily all elements of a complete
solution. Currently, few vendors are willing to break apart their full UC suite
to capture the share and revenues from a structured series of UC bundles mapped
to SMB needs," Galgay said.
The report concluded that
the overall UC outlook is attractive: Over the next five years, the SMB
opportunity for UC components in North America is expected to more than double.
Given the massive potential size of the total addressable market for UC components,
adoption of single solutions will continue, with "bootstrapped"
solutions aimed at the low end of the market. However, as advanced customers
develop more use-cases and needs, the number of SMBs using multiple UC
components will reach a tipping point, and the full UC providers' opportunity
will become more prominent. "The revenue opportunity in winning full UC
SMB customers is large, but to do so, vendors need to provide structure and
guide these SMBs along the path from single components to a full UC
solution," Galgay said.
The "2011-2012 North
America SMB Unified Communications Overview" is part of AMI's Unified
Communications Practice, which provides research-based market intelligence on
the demand for UC products and services among global SMBs and essential
guidance on key elements of UC solutions to maximize the SMBs' likelihood to
purchase and corresponding uptake.