Unify Square Reveals Top Microsoft Skype for Business and Unified Communications Predictions in 2016

Microsoft's Closest Skype for Business Partner Sees Technology, Cloud Migrations and Business Case Maturity as Primary Drivers for Mass Enterprise Adoption of UC

Nov 19, 2015, 09:00 ET from Unify Square

BELLEVUE, Wash., Nov. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Unify Square, the leading provider of software, consulting and managed services for Skype for Business (formerly Lync), today revealed its top predictions for enterprise adoption of unified communications (UC) and Skype for Business in 2016. As an elite partner of Microsoft, Unify Square developed its predictions based on experiences helping over fifty of the top Fortune 500 enterprises succeed with their Skype for Business initiatives.  

Unify Square's leadership team, made up of former Microsoft Skype for Business product visionaries and architects, expects significant strides in enterprise adoption of Skype for Business seats in 2016. At the same time, in an effort to boost ROI, IT decision-makers will become more proactive about adding cloud capabilities to their deployments, resulting in an increased focus on hybrid UC environments. Meanwhile, as Microsoft continues to increase market share in the UC arena, it will gradually challenge the carrier's role in enterprise voice as IT pushes for centralized consolidation to ease complexity of managing multiple communication and collaboration contracts. Additionally, as enterprises experience accelerated ROI from Skype for Business deployments, IT will increasingly "right-size" their UC budgets to set their global initiatives up for long-term success.  

Sonu Aggarwal, CEO of Unify Square, predicts the following:

Skype for Business Has the Potential to Exceed 100 Million Enterprise Seats by 2018 Microsoft has made its cloud ambitions well known as Satya Nadella announced his goal to triple revenue earned from its cloud-computing business to $20 billion by the end of 2018. Microsoft's cloud computing business, which includes Office 365, is already demonstrating impressive adoption numbers, growing more than 300% from 2014 (7.7% to 25.2%). Since Microsoft began integrating Skype for Business into Office 365 preview in July, more than 4,000 companies have started using the new services – a number that continues to grow by 20% each week. If Microsoft can keep up this rate of adoption, Skype for Business will match Office 365's penetration (and may perhaps even help to pull Office 365 along) in terms of enterprise deployment and consumption.

Issues with End-User Satisfaction Will Drive "Right-Sized" IT Budgets for UC Initiatives
End-user adoption and satisfaction are the ultimate source of truth when measuring the success of any UC deployment. However, up to this point, enterprises have focused primarily on Skype for Business deployment, and have often overlooked many of the "surrounding" factors that facilitate success. As IT departments discover the importance of connecting the dots between UC ROI and end-user adoption, we'll see increased IT awareness of the many components that help such initiatives succeed – including planning, user adoption, program management, site cutovers, monitoring/reporting tools, automation, appropriate staffing and/or external support. Correspondingly, enterprises will increase IT budgets by at least 10% for Microsoft UC to cover the end-to-end factors ensuring success, while still delivering significant OpEx savings relative to legacy or alternative approaches. As one example, according to Gartner estimates, by 2019 end-user VoIP and UC monitoring will be prerequisites for 60% of mainstream network performance monitoring and diagnostics tool procurement, up from 20% in 2015. 

Microsoft's Growing UC Dominance Will Make Interoperability Concerns a Thing of the Past
New survey data found 35% of enterprise respondents currently run Skype for Business for enterprise voice and 24% are in the process or planning to standardize on Microsoft's platform – nearly double that of the closest competitor. The movement towards standardization is further validated by Nemertes, which interviewed 50 senior IT leaders across 45 global organizations and found nearly half of users plan to consolidate on a single UC vendor by the end of 2016. Further, putting an end to what was originally a Microsoft UC Achilles Heel, the Skype for Business platform is now considered quite mature in its ability to deliver strong enterprise voice telephony. The key triple play of 1) the aforementioned standardization trend; 2) the seamless integration of a strong meetings and voice play in the form of Skype for Business into Office 365; and 3) Microsoft's ongoing position of strength in enterprise IT, will alleviate most of the burden for interoperability across UC platforms and ease management concerns.

Hybrid Cloud Deployments of Skype for Business Will Be the Norm
A recent No Jitter poll of 259 IT professionals found 30% of respondents have already adopted a hosted cloud service for some Skype for Business functionality, and 33% are evaluating hosted functionality for future implementation. Similarly, IDG analysts expect 54% of enterprises will implement a hybrid cloud UC model over the next two years as solutions become more robust and sophisticated. In spite of that data, enterprises will be purposefully slow to embrace a full cloud PBX architecture for various security and availability reasons. Together with its Skype for Business Online partner ecosystem, Microsoft's aggressive UC cloud emphasis will help to accelerate this adoption of the hybrid model and lay the groundwork for full enterprise cloud migrations over the next three to five years.

Microsoft Will Deepen Its Market Conflict with Carriers
Gartner expects Skype for Business, as a telephony solution, to continue its rapid adoption rate and earn a top three spot as a global telephony provider by the end of 2016.  This increased adoption of enterprise voice with Skype for Business Online will challenge the old-school carrier model by moving the lion's share of minutes on-net and delivering meeting and voice capabilities through a single provider. Over the course of 2016 and beyond, this migration will accelerate, further displacing the roles a majority of carriers have traditionally played in the enterprise. A handful of "progressive" carriers, will choose to embrace the new realities rather than protect their legacy businesses – thereby setting themselves up to drive larger enterprise market share, taking share away from "old school" carriers, over the next three years.

"The unified communications market has traditionally been a fragmented market, but in 2016 we see Microsoft's Skype for Business in the limelight and significantly accelerating the dynamics of the market," said Sonu Aggarwal, CEO of Unify Square. "Global enterprises have proven the ROI of standardizing on a UC platform, and Skype's mass end-user appeal is making Skype for Business emerge as the natural leader in the global enterprise segment. As we head into 2016, we are seeing an increasing fraction of CIOs worldwide commit to multi-year journeys (and corresponding UC investment increases) around enterprise-wide Microsoft Enterprise Voice, based on solid business cases delivering 30-50% cost savings relative to current telecommunications estates. These strategic CIO-led UC journeys are where trusted Microsoft partners like Unify Square can be significant assets driving these initiatives towards lasting success."

For more information on Unify Square's products, services and managed services support, click here.

About Unify Square
Unify Square helps unlock greater ROI and end-user satisfaction by providing the most comprehensive software, consulting and managed services offering for Microsoft Skype for Business. Our patented UC-Core™ technology improves visibility into Skype for Business environments and creates actionable insights, which IT uses to quickly transform Skype for Business infrastructure into a highly responsive business asset.  Hundreds of Fortune 1000 type companies in nearly 50 countries rely on Unify Square to manage their Skype for Business platforms and address issues before users ever know they exist.  Founded by former Skype for Business/Lync product visionaries and patent holders, Unify Square is a member of the Skype for Business Partner Advisory Council, and one of Microsoft's global elite partners. Headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, Unify Square also has offices in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, India, Australia and Singapore. Email us: sales@unifysquare.com or visit the website: www.unifysquare.com

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