Headwinds of UCaaS

As the pandemic sweeps the globe, Zoom turned up 600K new seats this month. Slack surged in paid users. Most UC&C providers have offered free trials and other things to get users on-board.

I was asked on a conf call what I thought would happen. On one hand, this is the moment that UCaaS has been waiting for. However, conversion will be tough.

Every platform – from Microsoft to Zoom to 8×8 – experienced some glitches in the face of this surge — so did the broadband networks that were not built for people to actually want/need/use the advertised speed. In the face of glitches and no training, will users pay for the new platform going forward? We don’t know.

My best guess is: the money is in the training.

  • If people just use Zoom for a few 3-way video calls, then Facetime wins.
  • If people just use Teams for chat, then WhatsApp and SMS win.
  • If people use RC/8×8/Vonage/UCaaS for voice replacement, then the PBX wins.

If the UC&C provider want to keep these customers around, they have to get them trained and show them how to make productivity gains with the service. They have to show people how to team build virtually; how to sustain culture online instead around the water cooler.

For the longest time, UCaaS was sold as dial-tone replacement. This past month it has become the DR/BC solution that folks hoped it would. BUT to keep these users from going back to business as usual, the push for training and tips and mobile has to be now.

Zoom has a good blog that shows how to add backgrounds, do virtual team building and more. Zoom has been hacked so users can loop a video that shows them paying attention. Zoom needs to push these things out to the users so that they become paying customers. So does every other provider. The money is in user adoption.

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