As we close out 2020, a year marked by disruption and uncertainty, the UCC experts at Wildix, developer of the first web-based unified communications and collaboration solution, have identified five trends that will shape the UCC market in 2021. More than technological breakthroughs, 2021 UCC trends will be defined by the continuing evolution in buying and distribution habits, as well as the continuation of work-from-home models driving specialized needs for such solutions.

“The coronavirus pandemic has required many companies to rethink their business plans,” said Robert Cooper, Managing Director of Wildix Americas. “We’ve generated this list to help the channel community best prepare and make it clear that the UCC industry is changing, and we need to adapt.”
Here are the five trends that will shape unified communications in 2021:
1.      Growth of the As-a-Service Model
There is increasing confusion and a general lack of confidence among organizations approaching the UCC technology market as a result of how quickly new versions of hardware and software render previous models obsolete. To remedy this, technology providers are increasingly offering subscription-based “As-a-Service” sales models, where hardware and software is rolled out and installed as soon as updated versions become available. With this model now gaining momentum in the UCC market, Wildix anticipates that usage of As-a-Service UCC deployments will continue to grow, while demand for and profitable use of the traditional one-off sales methodology will shrink.
2.      Increased Cloud Investments
Many organizations responded to the coronavirus with increased investments in business continuity, or digital architecture that enables businesses to continue regular processes in the face of compromising external factors. In the wake of lockdowns and quarantines, the cloud has served as an invaluable tool in this pursuit. Keeping data, contacts and even collaboration tools in the cloud rather than on-premises, enables employees to pivot to remote work without interruption. As such, the experts at Wildix predict even more rapid cloud transition in 2021.
3.      Continued Use of Work-from-Home Models
In a similar case of lingering coronavirus effects, employees will continue to work from home on a regular basis, regardless of the public health situation. Analysts predicted well before the pandemic that having work-from-home plans increases employee satisfaction, boosting both productivity and employee retention, and this has proven out during the pandemic. Gallup has reported that a majority of employees expect to continue working from home after the pandemic, emphasizing the importance of developing long-term support for the model. Studies have shown work-from-home models also save companies on expenses, giving them a direct financial incentive to continue the practice.
4.      Reduced Business Travel
There’s little question that travel for business purposes will remain in decline in the foreseeable future. Even once current travel restrictions are lifted, the increasing use of videoconferencing and webinar solutions has normalized the use of remote meetings and presentations, minimizing the costs associated with business travel. With the demonstrated effectiveness of online meetings and forums, we can expect business travel costs to receive greater scrutiny in 2021 and beyond.
5.      More Rapid Development of Direct Sales UCC Businesses
Although no one predicted the dramatic surge that occurred during the pandemic, e-commerce has long been expected to grow throughout 2020. With regard to UCC, Wildix expects that the expansion of business-to-business ecommerce will lead to increased market presence for companies that sell directly to customers versus bringing their solution to market through resellers or MSPs. It is consequently of even greater importance that MSPs compete using the same methodologies by making use of the As-a-Service sales model and stressing recognizable branding whenever possible.
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