What’s Coming in 2022?

The last two years have been something else.

Cyber-security, AI, and cloud communications were big in 2020 and 2021 – and that won’t slow down in 2022. As Ransomware, malware and bad actors increase threats, MSPs and IT departments will be looking for tools to fight back. Cyber-security partners will need to get a lot better on telling the story about what they do. A good example comes out of the VoIP DDoS attacks that we witnessed in 2021. Bandwidth and the others did not turn to Lumen or their data center for DDoS Mitigation despite their waving that flag (“DDoS Mitigation! Get it here!”). They went to Cloudflare. That says a lot!

There has been a ton of M&A in the channel, MSP space and the cybersec space. McAffe, Fireeye and so many others were scooped up by private equity. We will see a slew of new offerings in 2022. I just hope they finally brand it better and attach a story to it, otherwise it will be difficult to sell. We can look up what UTM stands for, but where’s the use case for what it actually provides. Take a page from Pharma TV ads, please, Cyber-Sec CMOs!

There’s an increasing need for cyber-security services but partners need help learning it and explaining it to prospects.

AI will permeate moreā€¦if that is possible. It will be everywhere that it can be bolted on. (We just didn’t pay attention to the Terminator.)

CPaaS and CX will eat UCaaS in 2022. UCaaS has always been a junk term. It is meaningless now that businesses need self-service, omni-channel, remote work, notifications and more.

The Great Resignation and the increasing need for quicker customer service means that cloud contact center functions are going mainstream. You can see that with 8×8, NEC and Intermedia adding CCaaS functions to their UC offerings.

Customers will want a seamless experience no matter the channel they select to contact the company. This will result in omni-channel expanding and orgs selecting cloud contact center in place of UCaaS to put the whole org on a single platform, since everyone’s job is customer service and sales.

Omni-channel also means that inter-operability between messaging and meeting apps would be welcome. We’ll see if that happens in 2022.

Voice gets an extension because asynchronous communication is showing signs of being useful in a hybrid workplace. Record once and send. Great for managers; on-boarding employees and partners; and so much more. Call recording getting new life.

Use cases are vital, moreso in 2022 when sales has to demonstrate benefits and differentiation. 2020 was the year of answering the phone to win business. It isn’t 2020 any longer. Time to start defining benefits, outcomes and ways that your service offering differs from the top names.

Office space will change. The CEO of Cogent shed some light on office space HERE. Co-working and smaller spaces will be leveraged more. Office design will need to account for noise levels and interruptions that people aren’t used to after two years of being homebound.

We all recognize that where work occurs is shifting, but management has to shift too. The Great Resignation is a sign of that. Hiring practices, lack of employee training, sparse on-boarding processes and what a manager is will need to be addressed. Technology alone will not fill the gap. There has never been a better time to get feedback from employees about ways to improve. As Tom Peters proclaims, EX is CX. Happy employees mean happy customers. A lousy employee experience won’t make the customer experience better. The days of a keg and a foosball table being the props to a cool workplace will have to be replaced with actual ingredients to culture and EX.

Data centers changed hands like playing cards in 2021. They will be building more data centers for the big cloud players like Microsoft, FB, Amazon and Google. More servers, more power, more cooling — climate change?! More connectivity. Plus quantum computing, bitcoin mining, and edge computing. Smaller data centers in secondary and tertiary markets to get closer to users.

Oh and 5G! I already want to puke when I hear the term, but it is just getting started. AT&T and VZW will go ahead with plans to put 5G everywhere while disrupting airplane landings, weather tracking and nuclear power plants

M&A will continue. Money is still cheap and plentiful. AppSmart, Avant and Upstack still have millions to spend. Private equity will continue to spend money on service providers. PE is even getting into telco (Lumen selling CenturyTel assets to Apollo.) We’ll see if any of these newly minted or recently merged entities can get their synergies together and deliver in 2022. Most likely not-so-much! Bigger is never better in the world of telecom.

Here’s hoping COVID-19 subsides in the new year.

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