Expect Microsoft Teams adoption to surge over 100% among SMBs during the next two years, thanks to COVID-19.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

February 5, 2021

3 Min Read
Survey says

Expect Microsoft Teams adoption to surge over 100% among SMBs during the next two years, thanks to COVID-19.

That’s according to Ribbon Communications‘ latest annual unified communications survey. It measures why companies are spending money on UC, as well as the buying behaviors of leaders from SMBs and enterprises globally.

More than 4,500 technology decision makers across 18 countries in the Americas and Europe participated in the survey.

Compared to the previous year’s results, the data showed a 103% increase among small businesses that have either deployed, are in the process of, or plan to deploy Microsoft Teams. Large companies reported an increase of 36%.

Additionally, 76% of small companies, 67% of medium-sized companies and 61% of large companies haven’t invested in IP-based communications solutions.

No Longer ‘Nice to Have’

John Macario is Ribbon‘s senior vice president of enterprise and channel marketing.


Ribbon Communications’ John Macario

“The real story here is that the pandemic has forced SMBs to recognize that IT is not something that’s just a ‘nice to have,'” he said. “No matter what business you’re in, IT is core to your business. In my conversations with customers, many of them have said the pandemic brought this into focus quickly. The data shows many responded by hiring a dedicated IT person, adopting UC, and taking a hard look at UC and [collaboration] tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom.”

The pandemic will also force many businesses to re-evaluate their budgets in areas like real estate and travel expenses, Macario said.

“For example, I recently spoke to a sales leader who works at one of our customers who said he looked at his [travel and entertainment] budget for 2021 and thought, ‘Is this my personal budget?’ In actuality, the budget was for his entire team,” Macario said. “While budgets are being cut in some areas, the data indicates that businesses – and SMBs in particular – are investing more in IT and UC technologies. Partners who serve the SMB market can and should be benefiting from this.

The three most popular UC&C platforms for supporting remote workers during the pandemic for large companies were Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Skype for Business.

UC&C Investment Rising

Other key findings include:

  • The number of companies planning to continue remote working post-pandemic increased by one-third across all business sizes.

  • The number of small businesses planning to invest in UC&C solutions over the next two years increased two-and-a-half times from the previous year, to 38%.

  • Two-thirds of large companies plan to invest in some form of UC solution within the next two years.

About 70% of respondents who intend to deploy Teams for calling say they will use Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams. This allows them to keep their existing dial-tone provider. And it leverages Microsoft-certified session border controllers (SBCs) to connect their existing phone system to Teams.

The remaining respondents indicated they planned to use Microsoft Phone System and Business Voice calling plans, which allows them to make Microsoft their dial tone provider.

But there are challenges for channel partners selling on-premises phone systems, Macario said. That’s because they can’t go into offices, and install and configure these systems.

However, enterprises are turning to cloud-first partners to set up their IT infrastructure and support remote workers, he said.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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