Business communications have evolved over the years to include a plethora of new communications and collaborations tools, such as video meetings, team spaces, business short messaging services (SMS) and more. Many businesses have also moved their call control (private branch exchange (PBX)) and collaboration tools to the cloud and adopting advanced unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solutions to gain operational efficiencies and become more agile.

However, business telephony and voice services deployment models have remained relatively static for generations. Business numbers and direct inward dial (DID) numbers are delivered to the customer premises by some form of connectivity—i.e., originally by analog plain old telephone services (POTS) lines and later by integrated services digital network (ISDN) and digital E1/T1 trunks. Regardless of the transport used, these telephone numbers have been paired with some form of customer premises equipment (CPE), such as a PBX or contact center, or terminated to endpoint devices such as FAX machines.

The adoption of Internet Protocol (IP) and Voice over IP (VoIP) standards has moved telephony and voice services away from leveraging dedicated physical circuits for transport and toward a future state of fully converged, IP-based networks providing transport for all applications and services used within a business. VoIP trunking services, using defined session initiation protocol (SIP) standards, have replaced physical circuits for many businesses. However, the way providers sell SIP trunking and customers consume the telephony service has not changed. SIP trunking provides for highly dynamic VoIP capabilities, but for many business customers, it serves in a very static “set and forget” role.

Today, the communications services value chain is being disrupted by innovative cloud communications providers. Several trends are impacting the ecosystem, including the successful merging of telephony services and cloud applications, the emergence of compelling UCaaS resale models, and the rising influence that Microsoft and other cloud platform providers are having on IT decisions makers. It is imperative that telecom operators re-evaluate their business models, realign their value proposition to customer shifting requirements, and carefully consider future partnerships.

This study analyzes disruptive market trends and identifies opportunities for telecom operators to capitalize on their strong connectivity, professional and managed services in the evolving cloud communications space.