The past year has proven to be different than anyone could have anticipated with the onset of the novel coronavirus and the resulting impacts that have continued to influence industries around the world.
Despite the turbulence that took place, enterprise communications have followed a similar path to what Flowroute initially forecasted for 2020. Prior to the pandemic, Flowroute predicted that (1) enterprises would turn to global communications offerings, (2) collaboration tools would continue to leverage voice and calling features and (3) contact centers would invest in tools that improve their omnichannel presence.
So how have these predictions panned out? Below, we’ve revisited each trend to see how they evolved in 2020.
Prediction #1: Enterprises will turn to global communication offerings
At the start of the year, we predicted that, “as businesses look to sharpen strategies and gain market share in 2020, many will turn to partnering with cloud-based CSPs that offer global cloud-based services. These partnerships will help enterprises reach new customers and deliver enhanced user experience.” We also said, “we are confident that innovations that facilitate global collaboration and enhance customer experiences will dominate the market.”
Upon the rapid onset of COVID-19 and resulting government mandates, many businesses around the world embraced remote or hybrid working to abide by social distancing protocols. As a result, businesses had to rely on cloud-based communications tools to help their teams stay connected and keep operations running. Spending on cloud infrastructure, software and platform services topped $65 billion in Q3 2020, which was up 28 percent from Q3 2019.
Prediction #2: Collaboration tools will continue to leverage voice and calling features
The remote workforce was already growing before the pandemic – but adoption was expedited by the pandemic, and the impacts are far reaching. Before the pandemic, we said, “In 2020, we will see the impact of quality voice and calling capabilities enhance enterprise collaboration tools and partnerships with cloud-comms providers. We forecast that businesses that do not adopt expansive and adaptable collaboration tools will not be able to compete in the global economy.”
Cloud based-collaboration tools have helped teams stay organized and connected by providing real-time updates and improved access to large files. The voice and calling features available on collaboration platforms have been instrumental in allowing businesses to collaborate internally and externally, safely. The agile and scalable features have also helped businesses pivot as needed to deliver continuous service to customers, regardless of where the team has been working from.
Prediction #3: Contact centers will invest in omnichannel from the start
This year, we predicted that, “businesses will invest in cloud-based communications tools to ensure their various touch points (i.e. texting, website message portals, emails and third-party apps) work together to create a holistic experience for consumers. In order to provide customers with this consistent and unified brand experience, we predict more businesses, and their contact centers will turn to cloud-based tools such as telecom APIs and WebRTC to enhance their omnichannel communications.”
The retail and restaurant industries have been gravely impacted, but quickly demonstrated the widespread use of omnichannel communications in 2020. For example, these businesses shifted to offer ordering online, curbside pick and online returns. In addition to these operational changes and to ensure customers’ needs are met, retailers have leveraged cloud telecom solutions to connect all touch points of the customer journey. One such solution is telecom APIs, which act as middleware for businesses to plug in voice and messaging capabilities to their existing websites and apps. As a result, customers have been able to easily get in touch with a business at any stage of their purchasing journey. Connecting touchpoints in this journey offers also provides a more holistic experience when working with different company employees (i.e., a contact center representative, an in-store cashier or a curbside delivery person).
Despite an unforeseen pandemic, the cloud telecom and enterprise communications market continued to see innovations in collaboration and customer experience in 2020. Enterprises turned to cloud communications solutions to power their operations at a distance and support their disparate workforce. In addition, collaboration tools continued to leverage voice and calling features and businesses invested in omnichannel customer communications. Though there are still many uncertainties at play; in 2021, we can expect to see these trends continue to grow in demand, which will result in continued adoption and innovation.