Even before current conditions necessitated enormous growth in remote work, technology to support effective communications had become a critical centerpiece of helping employees to get their jobs done. The challenges for IT professionals have only grown during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they must provide high-quality and secure service for a workforce that needs to message, call, and meet virtually. To add to the headache, IT pros may lack visibility into remote access, and they do not control the last mile of connection into an employee’s home. Firms must adopt a unified approach that integrates with their cloud-based workplaces to address these challenges while keeping costs low and keeping employee adoption high. Adopting unified communications as a service (UCaaS) with SD-WAN and network security can remove obstacles in communication and give firms a competitive edge.
Windstream Enterprise commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate UCaaS adoption, challenges, and opportunities in the market. Forrester conducted an online survey with 153 US-based IT and business decisionmakers for communications technology at midsize and large companies to explore this topic. This research was conducted several months into the pandemic, and well into what Forrester has identified as the Phase Three (management) period of the pandemic response.1 We found that UCaaS improves secure and reliable collaboration between employees, vendors, and customers.
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- Virtual connection takes center stage: The shift to virtual communication is nothing new, but the events of 2020 demanded sudden and dramatic increases in how firms offer these capabilities to employees. With remote work now essential for firm' workforces, employees need critical communication tools to do their job.
- Communication disruption can stop work in its tracks: With the increase in remote work, decision-makers are particularly concerned about security, but they struggle to implement updates without disrupting their employees' workflows. Forrester found that network and communication challenges impact customers, employees, and business operations.
- UCaaS offers a path forward: As firms look forward to supporting the accelerated nature of remote work, tech investment matters. Firms are exploring updates ranging from IT infrastructure and supporting cloud apps to improving front-end user adoption.
- Key recommendations: Forrester's in-depth survey of 153 US-based IT and business decision-makers about their communication technology yielded several important recommendations.
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