Security, Quality Biggest UCaaS Concerns, 8x8 Survey Finds

In a survey of 200 attendees at Enterprise Connect, respondents also said that poor sound or visual quality was the top problem in video conferencing.

cloud communications

Security continues to be the top concern among businesses looking at cloud communications, with quality of service coming in second, according to a recent survey by 8x8 officials.

8x8, a unified communications-as-a-service (UCaas) provider, surveyed about 200 attendees—more than half were IT decision makers, while others included systems integrators, end users and equipment manufacturers—at the recent Enterprise Connect 2016 show in Orlando, Fla., to gain perspective on how people view cloud communications, video conferencing and contact centers and where digital communications technologies may fall short.

What the company found was that in cloud communications, 35 percent said security was the primary concern. Another 21 percent chose quality of service.

The focus on cloud communications in the survey, which was released last week, comes as the market continues to transition to UCaaS and vendors, from Cisco Systems and Microsoft to Citrix Systems, ShoreTel, Mitel and Vonage continue to build out their cloud communications portfolios. Analysts with BCC Research in January found that small and midsize businesses will help drive the shift from on-premises systems to cloud UC and collaboration will grow 22.5 percent a year between 2015 and 2020, from 6.5 billion last year to almost $18 billion five years later. Hybrid deployments will grow even faster, at 28 percent a year.

Synergy Research Group analysts see the total UCaaS market growing at 16 percent a year.

"UCaaS continues to be a force for change within the business communications market," Synergy's founder and Chief Analyst Jeremy Duke said in a statement. "There has been a rapid rise of some disruptive new vendors and I do not expect the pace of change to slacken."

In its own survey in October 2015, officials with UCaaS vendor BroadSoft found that cloud UC market penetration will jump almost six times between 2015 and 2020, when it will account for about 41 percent of the overall UC space. The company said it has about 7 percent of the market today.

Regarding video conferencing, the top grievance among the respondents to 8x8's survey—35 percent of them—was poor sound or visual quality. That was followed by the 24 percent who pointed to connectivity issues and the 20 percent who said they did not like being forced to download an app to run a video conferencing service.

8x8 officials also asked attendees what they found most annoying about call centers. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said the top complaint was having to identify themselves repeatedly. In a related complaint, 24 percent said they most disliked getting transferred from agent to agent.

Another 16 percent said they were most aggravated about having to spend too much time on hold.

The results from the survey should give UC, video conferencing and contact center technology vendors some clues into what they need to do to improve the experience of their users, according to Neha Mirchandani, head of global communications for 8x8.

"Namely—security, quality of service, and features across unified communications and contact centers that deliver instant, continuous communications across devices and platforms, all integrated into a single application," Mirchandani wrote in a post on the company blog.