The Emerging Market Dynamics for Cloud-Based Unified Communications in APAC.

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“Adoption of cloud based UCC tools” is one of Gartner’s most discussed topic even before the pandemic. However, the thought got accelerated post COVID to maintain the business continuity. Perhaps, cloud based UCC adoption is already commoditized in most geographies of North America and Western European market and is almost a “no-brainer” to adopt cloud UCC model there except the rarest of rare possibilities. Gartner defines the global Unified communications end user spending is expected to yield a 3% CAGR through 2024 led by the cloud collaboration and cloud telephony initiatives. Whereas, APAC market is expected to yield a 1.96% CAGR through 2024, significantly low than of global. Reasonably, most APAC countries are still struggling to adopt cloud based UCC tools and are often tagged as the “late movers” and there are specific reasons for that. Most APAC countries have strict telecom regulatory barriers for cloud UCC applications since ages. Even from the revenue perspective, the potential APAC countries such as India, China and Japan have been the most regulated when it comes to enterprise telephony and other aspects of cloud based UCC services. Many of these countries are dominated and infect promote local telcos/vendors/manufacturers for various geographic and political specific reasons. Telecom regulatory barriers are tough to turn around overnight for any vendors or country specifics. However, the steps are already taken towards meeting the cloud requirements by vendors and enterprises both in recent time due to the new remote work culture, workplace engagement and need for unification of tools. Another trend that will catalyze the move to cloud based UCC solutions is the paradigm shift in communication culture from PSTN based communications to application-based communications. Most enterprises clearly want just a basic set of features for enterprise telephony instead of those thousands offered by premise-based platforms. As a result, vendors such as Microsoft and Zoom closely aligns with the same initiative of offering basic telephony features and emphasizing more on collaboration features. Like other geographies, most enterprises in APAC have also invested and been using cloud-based collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, WebEx etc. and the decision making for replacing enterprise telephony got influenced by those investments one way or other. On the other side, vendors like Microsoft and Zoom has been playing a pivotal role in penetrating those regulated countries with flexible options like BYOC(Bring Your Own Carrier) for PSTN connectivity. The larger ecosystem created by these vendors is also generating favorable conditions for enterprises in APAC as data residency and sovereignty are imperatives for most larger enterprises. The changing preferences of workforce for easy application-based communication augmented with the growing presence and cohesive delivery models from most cloud native UCC vendors have started propelling the adoption for cloud based UCC tools in APAC. We’re not at that point yet, but I can sense it on the horizon.  “Driving adoption” may not be as difficult in a future scenario where using new collaborative, cloud-based tools are the only way to get the work done effectively and efficiently. Gartner resources: Forecast Analysis: Unified Communications, Worldwide Hype Cycle for Unified Communications and Collaboration, 2020 Top 3 Considerations When Moving From Premises-Based Unified Communications to Cloud-Based UCaaS Assess Whether Microsoft Teams Meets Your Telephony Needs A Strategic Approach to Reducing Communications and Collaboration Spending in Light of COVID-19

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