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Managed Service Providers are constantly on the hunt for new revenue streams, and one showing significant potential is Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS).
The market for UCaaS has jumped amid Australia’s COVID lockdowns as businesses look for ways to make their operations more flexible and equip staff to efficiently work from home. Having a readily configurable and robust communications service is a key part of the mix.
Yet, despite these opportunities, new research conducted for Access4 by CRN has found many MSPs are reluctant to offer UCaaS to their client bases. More than 40% of survey respondents indicate they don’t see a business case while just over 25% think slender profit margins make it all not worth the effort.
These results are perplexing as there is clearly a sizable gap in the market. The research found 65% of MSPs are selling voice services to less than half of their customer base, but at the same time 70% believe that hosted UC services are in high demand.
An evolving market
So, is this situation likely to change with more MSPs opting to add hosted voice services to their product line up? The research found more than half (54%) are still undecided which means, given suitable offerings, greater numbers could still dive into the UCaaS space.
Before this happens, however, there are some challenges that need to be overcome. Survey respondents point to a range of issues they are facing with their current UC and telephony providers. These include poor integration with other tools such as Microsoft Teams (36%), platforms that are difficult to navigate (31%), and services that are too expensive or don’t offer sufficient margin (34%).
While these challenges are real, they are not insurmountable. The issue of poor integration actually presents a strong opportunity for nimble MSPs to add more value with their own UCaaS offerings. Presenting an integrated voice, video and Teams service would go down well with clients who are looking to get more out of the services they are already using.
The issue of offerings being too expensive or not showing enough margin can be overcome by MSP’s offering a range of cloud-based UC solutions so the customer has choice when solving their business communication challenges For clients, cloud services removes the need to invest in expensive on-premise equipment that can be cumbersome to deploy and manage.
These cloud-based alternatives also offer much more flexibility in the modern workplace. New users can be readily added, and features configured to match particular business requirements.
Asked to nominate the key advantages of cloud UCaaS, the survey respondents point to the opportunity for recurring revenue (36%), ease of selling (34%), and the ability to readily add it to their existing product offering mix (18%).
With working from home set to remain a feature of Australian life for some time to come, it’s clear that demand for the flexibility offered by UCaaS will continue to be high. Even when business life reverts to a more normal mode, organisations will still be attracted by the features that these platforms offer.
MSPs should take the time to fully evaluate the UCaaS demand that exists within their client bases and determine the potential that exists to fill that demand.
The next step is to examine the UCaaS providers currently on the market to establish which is the best fit. Features and capabilities vary significantly, as do levels of performance and reliability.
It’s clear there are big market opportunities for the MSPs who can best harness these new services and put them to work for their clients. Taking the necessary steps today could result in a significant boost to revenues in the months ahead.
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