As with many other industries, the communications industry took a huge hit during the economic downturn of 2009. Rather than make new investments, most end-user companies decided to extend the life of their existing messaging platforms and curtail spending on new messaging capabilities.
In spite of this challenging landscape, a large number of businesses became aware of the productivity benefits of unified messaging (UM) and its ability to accelerate business processes.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (conferencing.frost.com), World Enterprise Voice and Unified Messaging Platform Markets, finds that the market earned revenues of $953.7 million in 2009. UM seats shipped continued to increase to 9.99 Million – a 29.0 percent year-over-year growth over 2008, representing a significant 42 percent of the total VM/UM shipment.
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"The growing number of telecommuters and increasing mobility of the enterprise workforce drive demand for next-generation messaging solutions," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Alaa Saayed. "As enterprises seek new ways to enable their workforce to be more productive and efficient while performing multiple tasks (either at their desks or on the go), anywhere and anytime access to non-real-time messaging becomes crucial."
The market will also receive a boost from rising industry focus on application integration and growing UC adoption, and the replacement of legacy messaging systems and telephony platforms with next-generation IP communication solutions.
UM seats continue to grow due to the success of bundling programs, the inclusion of free 'try and buy' UM seats in different telephony systems, the
smaller mark-up of additional UM seats, the progress of new market entrants such as Microsoft and, last but not least, the growing recognition of the benefits of unified messaging. In 2009, most messaging vendors saw the penetration of their UM-ready seats increase to almost 50 to 60 percent of their total messaging seats.
On the flip side, the entry of more market participants with lower UM license fees, increased bundling, and giving away of free messaging licenses by some telephony vendors are reducing revenues and margins. Potential users are also deterred by the relatively high costs of a full-fledged UM solution and the lack of a clear value proposition for a large user group.
Additionally, there are concerns about legal and compliance issues related to discovery opportunities, security, privacy, and confidentiality of messaging access and identity management. Some vendors are still finding it difficult to develop a compelling hard-dollar return on investment (ROI) model for UM solutions.
Revenue declines could have been much worse if most messaging vendors had not added greater value to their UM offerings, found new ways of generating additional revenue, educated end users about the value of UM, and relied on creative leasing and financing.
"Although UM awareness is growing, when compared to other communications and collaboration tools such as audio, Web, and videoconferencing, and instant messaging, unified messaging has still a long way to go in terms of promoting and communicating its benefits," cautions Saayed. "Given this challenging scenario, Frost & Sullivan recommends that vendors seek to offer enhanced security options (messaging encryption); tighter integration of UM into UC solutions, different deployment options (single- and dual-store), compelling migration strategies, and support for open standards as part of their messaging architectures."
World Enterprise Voice and Unified Messaging Platform Markets is part of the Enterprise Communications Growth Partnership Services program, which also includes research in the following markets: World Enterprise IP Telephony Endpoint Markets, World Enterprise Telephony Platform Markets, and World Enterprise Media Gateway Markets. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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