The Case for Integration in the UCaaS Industry

By Ryan Edmundowicz in API Industry Trends, Application Ecosystem Posted Mar 5, 2020

It’s no surprise that the way people work is changing - in the past 10 years, the number of remote workers in the United States has increased by 91% as more and more businesses shift toward a remote office environment. The ripple effects that these shifts have on the UCaaS industry are astounding, leading to a proliferation of communication applications attempting to corner the booming market of communication technology.

Employees use more and more SaaS applications to do their jobs today than ever before. Remote working, video conferencing, and productivity applications dominate start-up life. But what effect do these changes have on mature, longer-standing organizations in the UCaaS space?

UCaaS Industry Pain Points

For these mature global UCaaS organizations, a key issue remains and prevents them from quick go-to-market and flexible business processes: difficult-to-integrate, antiquated legacy systems. For these organizations, system rigidity makes innovation much slower than it is for companies that were built to withstand and support the application ecosystem.

But the question remains: how do you position yourself in a way that makes your customers happy, but doesn’t put too much financial or operational strain on your business? And how do you demonstrate that your business can adapt to changes in your customers’ tech stacks as technological advancements continue?

Furthermore, UCaaS organizations are dealing with increased competition. This problem likely isn’t a revelation, as companies are rushing to upgrade their legacy PBX systems and UCaaS organizations are competing to win that business. Transparency Market Research has found that the industry could be worth as much as $79.3 billion by 2024.

 UCaaS Industry Growth

We’re also seeing huge technology companies trying to get a piece of the UCaaS pie. Microsoft, Cisco, Google, Amazon, and Verizon are just a handful of the organizations jumping into the race. The competitive, shifting nature of the industry is further reinforced by Avaya and RingCentral’s partnership on an Equity deal. However, without key market differentiation in this booming industry, pricing will be driven downward, making the potential financial gains of this market smaller and smaller. 

Technological Advancements for Unified Communications

One way that UCaaS companies are differentiating themselves is by building NLP and AI technology or partnering with an organization that provides these services off of UCaaS platforms. With this technology, voice can be used as a dataset, where call content is digitized and analyzed for use across internal teams. One example of how this might look in practice is by analyzing competitor mentions during sales calls and having your marketing team use this information to create competitor scorecards for top-mentioned market alternatives to help make calls more successful.

With this exciting market differentiator blossoming into existence, some important facets remain the same (such as security and reliability), while some change (requirements and partner selection). Now, requirements and partner selection are being driven by integration alongside unique employee workflows due to their ability to satisfy end-users. This end-user satisfaction is leading evaluations to run intensive POCs, making seamless, self-service integrations and ease-of-use critical to enabling a smooth Proof of Concept.

The Solution: An Application Ecosystem Strategy

When considering how customer needs are shifting, the surge in industry competition, voice as a data set as a key differentiator, and a shift in selection process and criteria, UCaaS is a clear contender for the benefits of an application ecosystem strategy for integration.

By using an application ecosystem integration strategy, you can scale your business to integrate with all of the CRM, help desk, and communication software platforms that your customers are asking for. But this is only sustainable when using a one-to-many integration approach, and not by building connections in a flimsy, one-off manner.

Additionally, being able to connect to new types of business systems, such as CRMs and business intelligence platforms and having the ability to pass new levels of data (voice data and basic call logging) is more important than ever.

With Cloud Elements, you can quickly build one-to-many integrations and stay connected to the latest-and-greatest applications so you can stay ahead of your competitors on the technological curve. If the connector (we call them Elements) you’re looking for isn’t already in our Catalog, you can easily build your own with Element Builder

To Wrap It Up

The competition to obtain and retain your customers has never been more intense. Requirements around integrations and advanced features like NLP/Voice Analytics are how you differentiate your platform, so as not to drive down price. By building more integrations using fewer developers, you can let your team focus on differentiating your core product offering.

Additionally, with the popularity of new AI features, your team is going to have to build new types of integrations that your system isn't used to pushing into Salesforce, Sugar, Zoho, FreshSales, etc.

This means the question isn’t whether or not to integrate, but instead how you should go about doing it. Do you build integrations yourself and deal with the burden of maintaining and connecting them for the foreseeable future? Or do you buy access to a platform like Cloud Elements, which already offers normalized APIs with flexible one-to-many integration capabilities?

With our platform, you can leverage your junior developers to build normalized one-to-many integrations 8.7X faster than if you were to build them yourself. 

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