Shirin Esfandiari, Senior Product Marketing Director, Oracle Communications
Driven by a time of major disruption, we are at the start of a journey in transforming the way we communicate and collaborate. In speaking with industry experts, it is clear we’re experiencing a change in the way we manage unified communications.
The concept of BYOC is one that has been around for decades, it just wasn’t thought of or identified in that way. Enterprises all have unique communications needs, and it’s difficult for a single provider to deliver on all of them. The banking industry needs privacy settings, contact centers need call recordings, and large retailers need in-store communications on-site. Regardless of their industry, enterprises can leverage existing architecture but adopt BYOC and integrate voice communications through a carrier of choice.
In this article, we will outline three major trends industry experts from Omdia, Zoom, and Twilio are seeing around unified communications:
The scale and scope of migration is significant and global events, such as the pandemic, have brought a sense of urgency to the digital evolution of communications. Findings from Omdia’s global survey of mid-market enterprise companies identified common goals and concerns among business leaders spanning industries such as finance, manufacturing, and telehealth.
According to the data, Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is rapidly being deployed with nearly 27% of respondents adopting it in the past 18 months. And while on premises deployment is declining, with an expected significant drop in the next two years, the findings also revealed that we are just at the beginning of this transition—less than 25% of mid-market and large enterprises are fully transitioned to UCaaS—signaling that while we are on our way, we are not fully transformed.
Regardless of where companies are in their journeys, Omdia’s data reveals that security and performance management are the top concerns for decision-makers. The surface area and attack vector has widened with employees working from their homes—and the wider enterprise network broadens security risks. As organizations approach their move to UCaaS or Contact Center-as-a-Service (CCaaS) solutions, there is a great desire for secure and reliable services. With communications fundamental to any business’ success, enterprises are looking for security and network reliability in their communications partners.
Security ranked as the top challenge for respondents: security breaches (38%), user authentication (38%), remote agents (33%), call spoofing (33%), and account reconnaissance (32%) were among enterprises’ biggest hurdles. As they embarked on their transformations, elements of management also presented new challenges including analytics on user activity (36%), service level agreement (SLA) assurance (34%), cost controls (32%), and network visibility (29%).
Another challenge for enterprises is reckoning with the existing systems and hardware in place as they look to embrace BYOC. Often when it comes to mid- to large enterprises, there are contractual carrier agreements and physical trunks already in place. Assuming the company and carrier have already negotiated the best agreement for services, there may be hesitation around adopting new communications technologies.
Zoom has presented BYOC options structured specifically to build cloud-based telephony into the enterprise, allowing users to communicate from headquarters to branches through Zoom Phone, a feature license in addition to a Zoom account. Rolled out to approximately 2M users in the last 18 months, Zoom Phone enables enterprises to remain with their preferred carriers, existing trunks, and the same phone numbers—it just drives all applications into the cloud.
How are all these technologies possibly connected? The Session Border Controller (SBC) is the enabler to a successful migration from existing carrier agreements to cloud-based communications. The device sits on the edge, acting as a bridge to the SIP trunking, applications, contact center, and unified communications applications. As security devices deployed at the enterprise edge or in the cloud, SBCs also facilitate direct connections to new and innovative cloud services and provide access to the remote workforce. Once an SBC and session management layer are deployed, legacy platforms can be swapped out or new services can be introduced at the pace that fits the business’ needs with minimal disruption. Outdated and underused services and systems can be decommissioned over time and newer resources like UCaaS, CCaaS, video conferencing, or SMS messaging to existing platforms, can be delivered rapidly.
As evidenced by the fast uptick in Zoom Phone users, over the last 18 months there has been an increased reliance on the telecommunications infrastructure. The distributed workforce exposed an even greater need for sophistication, portability, and resiliency in communications—and a need for reduction of operating expenses. This is where the cloud can lighten the load for telecommunications organizations and open new channels.
Consequently, there is a substantial need for a communications architecture with a centralized control layer to eliminate complexity and streamline operations. Or rather the need to go beyond BYOC, Premise Peering, and Direct Routing, and adopt a solution to connect cloud-based communications services to your communications service provider for PSTN connectivity. This is where the SBC comes into play which can be deployed at the network edge to manage telephony and other real-time communications. By centralizing session control, dial plan management, and policy enforcement functions, service agility can be improved, security adherence can be ensured, and services and user experiences are consistent.
In addition to providing the vital interoperability function, the SBC allows companies to maintain control of other essential communications services. A communications architecture with a centralized control layer enabled by SBCs means organizations can keep existing dial plans and interconnect traditional phones and IP-PBXs. It further enhances agility by extending businesses’ ability to enable specialized third-party applications and services for authentication, call recording, compliance, security, transcription, and more.
While this digital evolution to BYOC has been ongoing, the steps to transform have been accelerated and pushed to scale further and faster than ever before. With technologies in place, such as the Oracle Communications SBC, there is a clear migration path for businesses moving their communications to the cloud.
About Oracle Communications:
Oracle Communications provides integrated communications and cloud solutions for Service Providers and Enterprises to accelerate their digital transformation journey in a communications-driven world from network evolution to digital business to customer experience. To learn more about Oracle Communications industry solutions visit: Oracle Communications LinkedIn.