When selling the benefits, the high costs for enterprise UCC solutions and the unpredictability of returns are two key barriers. This is further exacerbated by limited capital expenditure for a premise-based or even hybrid solution, large sunk costs in existing telephony infrastructure amongst many businesses, or a lack of in-house expertise to properly support full enterprise collaboration.
If you have only 100 users in your organisation, you may not have the economies of scale and a full-fledged UCC implementation will probably not make financial sense. Even for those who have adopted some form of UCC, few are seeing any actual or immediate returns on their investments.
But perhaps the largest factor for the resistance is the perception among companies here is that UCC must always enable costs savings.
We see collaboration very differently in Singapore from our counterparts in Europe and US. In the West, for example, companies are familiar with the benefits of the cloud and convinced that it is the way to go. They are less concerned with the cost savings, but more the peace-of-mind that a cloud infrastructure provides. Users there value 24x7 uptime, convenience and reliability.
In Singapore, we still need to prove that the cloud will save you money. With UCC this task is made even harder as the ROI benefits are difficult to quantify or guarantee. As a result, the only assurance we can give to our customers is the convenience.
What can we do to make UCC more relevant?
Given the current situation, will the prospects for UCC continue to remain tough?
What can the industry, or companies in Singapore do to benefit from collaboration?
I believe that the outlook for UCC adoption is far from bleak. With businesses transforming, the need for collaboration will become even more relevant. There are industries and applications that can thrive from better collaboration, such as e-healthcare, remote healthcare, education, virtual learning and contact centres where the justification for UCC is a lot stronger and the user benefits, much clearer.
Cloud UCC, new apps and collaboration tools for instance are making it faster, easier and cheaper to communicate.
Companies now have low-cost alternatives - we are seeing the emergence of cloud-based UCC, made available on demand and as-a-service. These are easily available to companies, given the ease of sign-up and affordable price points. There are no hardware (capex investment), just pure software costs. For example, solutions from cloud UCC software providers, some in the form of downloadable apps, are easy to install and inexpensive to use, so upfront costs are lower.
However, while barriers to entry are going down, the corporate mindset remains key to driving UCC adoption and success.
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