In these times of rapid automation and increased cybersecurity threats, organizations have relied on IT solutions more than ever. The world took a collective blink, and suddenly 2022 is around the corner. As the year end rolls around, organizations start to think strategically about the coming year and how for it to beas successful as possible. And IT solutions are top of mind when it comes to future success.

The past two years have been a flurry of COVID-related buzzwords. From “pivot” to “work-from-home” to “unprecedented’“ to “new normal,” these buzzwords tell the tale of a period of extreme disruption during which many organizations flew into crisis mode in order to keep the lights on and their teams employed. As 2022 fast approaches, we sat down with Affiliated Communications Partner, Jim Carter, as he peers into his crystal ball and shares his insights on the role of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and business phone systems in 2022 and beyond.

What Did we Learn in 2021?

“2021 and 2020 ushered in a significant change in the way companies are doing business internally and towards their customers,” Carter reflects. “Because of the pandemic, and because of a host of weather-related issues, we are going to see organizations move permanently into remote working. Employees are demanding it, and also customers are demanding it.”

It’s hard to dispute that remote work as a mainstream business model is here to stay, when you consider these statistics, courtesy of a recent Flexjobs survey:

  • 97% of workers desire some form of remote work with 58% preferring a full-time remote work environment
  • 58% of respondents advised that they would look for a new job if their current employer would not accommodate remote work and 44% of respondents know at least one person who has (or will) be giving their notice for this very reason
  • Remote workers are up to 40% more productive than office workers
  • 90% of senior executives expect to work from home

What does this shift ultimately mean for organizations? “It’s a positive thing,” Carter shares. “It translates to increased productivity with decreased total cost of ownership. If organizations can get rid of some of their brick and mortar, if they can have longer customer and employee retention, that will leave them with less cost and higher revenue. This shift is what we’ve been seeing, and this is where companies are going.”

What is on the horizon for 2022?

With this major change looming (or in many cases, already a done deal), how does that shape the way things will look for organizations in the coming year?

Heightened focus on collaboration

When looking ahead, Carter projects a more concentrated focus on collaboration, and in particular, how collaboration will impact the UCaaS space.

“Collaboration is driving UCaaS,” Carter states. “Whereas previously, unified communications were the driving force in front of collaboration. Due to the pandemic, this has been flipped and collaboration is now driving UCaaS.”

The Affiliated Communications UCaaS solution streamlines all of your organization’s communications (including video, voice and conferencing) in one unified platform. The way of the future indeed!

Move to “phoneless” engagement

Carter suspects that a trend he has been witnessing for years is only going to continue accelerating in 2022.

“We’re seeing a lot of companies choose to move their customers to phoneless types of engagement. Meaning we are going to see a convergence of people moving into software-only systems that are not going to take phones. Does that mean that phones are dead? Probably not. But it does mean a major migration to a softphone type of approach.”

What is a softphone? Carter describes it as follows.

“When you bring up a unified communications client on your computer, there is a keypad you dial out through the internet – that’s a softphone. A hard phone is a physical instrument. A softphone is a phone on your computer that you can dial out on.”

This softphone approach is something that Affiliated Communications specializes in through a suite of cloud and IT solutions, including:

Migration from premise to cloud

Carter is also predicting a consistent and continual migration from premise and contact centers to the cloud. However, this migration is not only limited to moving from phone systems to the cloud.

“We’re going to see a migration from Microsoft Exchange into 365. We’re going to see movement from organization’s networks or wide area networks to SD Wan. We’re going to see local routing capabilities and securities currently sitting behind firewalls moving to the cloud. We’re going to see a mass exodus from maintaining technology on-site, because it doesn’t make any financial sense.”

The upside of this mass exodus for organizations is significant:

  • Tremendous infrastructure cost savings
  • Better disaster recovery and Disaster Avoidance as a Service (DAaaS)
  • Enhanced network security designed to protect against advanced threats
  • More streamlined processes and operations

Leading the list of reasons to join this mass exodus?

“Freeing up your technology folks to do the work they are meant to be doing,” Carter explains. “When they no longer have to worry about the day-to-day activities, worry about maintenance and services, they can focus on the core jobs that they want to get moving forward with their data application. This helps with employee retention and customer satisfaction and gives organizations a true competitive advantage.”

Making 2022 Your Year

Affiliated Communications has their finger on the pulse of what is needed to make 2022 your most successful year yet. Their deep understanding of cloud services and the unified communications space, in parallel with their uncanny knack for assessing the business environment and how they can best support it through their IT solutions, is why they have been the leading communications distributor in Texas since 1984. Commit to making 2022 your year and connect with Affiliated Communications today.