Cloud communications growing rapidly in Australian enterprises

Telsyte study finds rapid growth in use of cloud-based communications services in Australian enterprises, though most organisations remain unlikely to ditch PBXes

Existing enterprise PBX systems reaching their end of life, the potential for CIOs to cut costs, increased vendor offerings and the consumerisation of IT are all pushing growth of cloud communications services in Australian enterprises.

A new report from Telsyte is predicting that cloud-based communications services will exceed 30 per cent penetration by 2020. Current penetration is hovering at around 13-15 per cent in Australian enterprises, according to Telsyte senior analyst Rodney Gedda, but growing at around 30 per cent.

"It's not all or nothing," the analyst said. Most enterprises currently employing cloud-based communications infrastructure are opting for hybrid models: Using cloud services for some roles, such as DR or call centres, but retaining on-premise PBXes.

A combination of factors is leading to growth in the market, Gedda said.

"With some customers coming to end of life with their [existing PBX] system, that's one driver," the analyst said.

"If they have an old system, they might say, 'Well we don't want to manage any telephony equipment and UC equipment in house, so we'll just use a service provider. And cost is always a factor — CIOs need to weigh up the costs of ownership between running on-prem communications and cloud."

On the supply side, there are more options available to enterprises, Gedda said.

"You've got the telcos, which still are the dominant player in terms of offering voice services — they're offering more cloud enterprise comms and unified communications services alongside what you could call their 'legacy' offerings," the analyst said.

"And there's a whole family of new service providers coming on board: Companies like Dimension Data, NEC, CSC, UXC Connect — all the big service companies. They're all jumping on board the cloud enterprise comms market."

"You can take it a step further and say that with the consumerisation of unified communications and enterprise communications, with the likes of Skype and [Google] Hangouts, finding its way into the enterprise through 'bring-your-own apps', that opens up a whole new story for getting organisations at least in the mood for migrating [to cloud services]," Gedda said.

The Australian Enterprise Communications Market Study 2015, released today by Telsyte, found that most organisations have staff that employ a softphone on a weekly basis — with Skype by far the most popular application.

In addition, the study found that less than 5 per cent of Australian enterprises have ditched fixed lines completely and gone 'mobile only'.

"I think the whole concept of being a mobile-only enterprise may suit some organisations but I think the vast majority will have mobile as an extension — essentially another channel to the user and another user interface," Gedda said.

Follow Rohan on Twitter: @rohan_p

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