Collaboration and communications tech to continue to thrive with hybrid working, says GlobalData

The attitudes of both employees and employers towards hybrid working – a style of working that allows for a more balanced home-office work pattern – have fundamentally changed due to the pandemic, according to GlobalData. The leading data and analytics company notes that this is good news for tech companies producing collaboration and communication (C&C) services such as Zoom that have seen a boost from remote working over the pandemic.

Robert Pritchard, Senior Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “C&C tech acted as a life vest for businesses forced to move to remote working. Their use will only continue as these enterprises step into the future of hybrid working.

“While the leading C&C service providers in the UK are BT and Vodafone, there is still plenty of competition. This means that there is bound to be something to suit the needs of every type of customer, no matter the size, sector or location. Further innovation in C&C can be expected as businesses seek help to improve employee productivity, welfare and retention.”

However, it is not only the changes in office life that will impact C&C companies. Pritchard notes that the ongoing climate emergency will spur further commitment to C&C software.

Pritchard continues: “Companies have growing commitments to environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, which means they have to demonstrate the benefits to society and address customers’ environmental concerns – all enabled by C&C services.”

While there is a wide range of C&C platforms available in the UK, end users tend to use multiple forms of these ‘universal’ solutions. Over time, the market is bound to consolidate – as evidenced by Zoom’s agreed deal to buy Five9 for around $14.7bn. The generally accepted ‘marketing rule of three’ indicates that as individual markets mature, they tend to be dominated by three dominant players, so the battle has started to gain a place at the top table.

Pritchard adds: “Zoom’s deal is just the start of what will be an onslaught of C&C mergers and acquisitions (M&As).”

Another key trend is the migration from upfront investment-heavy, on-premises products to pay-as-you-go-based cloud solutions, often from new competitors such as Facebook and Google. Facebook’s ‘Workplace’ now has over seven million paying business customers, while Google’s ‘Workspace’ is being actively marketed as a solution for hybrid meetings.

Pritchard concludes: “Most service providers offer C&C services as part of their broader enterprise proposition as a way of not being disintermediated by platform providers. Their differentiation efforts are focused on delivering more substantial integration through APIs, (Application Programming Interfaces) adding value via analytics, and customer visibility and control using online portals that offer an opportunity to generate customer ‘stickiness.’

“The good news for UK business is that there is a wide choice of C&C solutions available that will suit the needs of every type of customer of whatever size, in whichever sector, and almost wherever they are located.”

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