While true unified messaging (UM) continues to provide maximum benefit to only a sub-segment of employees within a business, messaging systems increasingly become the base platforms for running a number of other capabilities besides UM. Accordingly, the majority of the messaging systems shipped in 2007 were UM-enabled next-generation messaging systems that are still used predominantly for voicemail.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (enterprisecommunications.frost.com), North American Enterprise Voice and Unified Messaging Platform Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $699 million in 2007 and estimates this to reach $1.03 billion in 2013.
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Moreover, in 2007, web-based voicemail drove the adoption of next-generation messaging systems among companies with a large mobile workforce and wish to provide some level of convenience to their employees but prefer not to deploy UM for security concerns.
"In 2007, the UM market received a boost through its inclusion in the unified communications portfolio and from increasingly being positioned as the first step toward unified communications," notes Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Krithi Rao. "The market also rode the wave of replacement of legacy messaging systems coming to the end of their useful life and vendors' strategies of discounting UM platforms to achieve greater penetration."
Most messaging vendors (independent and telephony-centric) develop and position their messaging platforms as the pathway to unified communications. An end-user survey conducted by Frost & Sullivan found that many of the survey respondents viewed UM as unified communications implementations or their first step toward unified communications.
Further, the adoption of UM is generally events-based. One of the main events that trigger the adoption of UM is the replacement of an aging voice messaging system. Accordingly, migration is being fueled by the end of functional life of older messaging systems and the availability of only best-effort maintenance and management services for these systems by service providers and channels.
However, though the paradigm of unified communications will help the adoption of UM, it is also likely to act as a restraint for the UM market. Bundling of UM applications with telephony, automated attendants, interactive voice response (IVRs), and unified communications, which should be done to improve adoption rates, is throttling potential revenues for UM vendors.
"Many vendors have introduced the concept of user licensing or user profile licensing to facilitate unified communications deployments," says Rao. "In this strategy, vendors enable customers to purchase multiple applications bundled together under a single license. The bundling naturally causes a drop in revenue per application – in this case UM."
Vendors should build value by providing customized features/applications that are applicable to industry verticals. Additionally, vendors should allow piece-meal deployment of capabilities, frequently not involving UM but other advanced messaging capabilities, to ensure maximum return on investment (ROI) for the customer. These apart, vendors should be able to show a roadmap on how the UM solution can eventually fit into a unified communications solution.
North American Enterprise Voice and Unified Messaging Platform Market, is part of the Enterprise Communications Growth Partnership Service program, which also includes research in the following markets: North American Enterprise Telephony, Open-source Telephony, IP Phones, VoWLAN, Unified Communications Markets, Enterprise Telephony Equipment Services, Enterprise Media Gateways. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Interviews with the press are available.
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