Major UCaaS-related outages experienced by 97% of enterprises in 2023

Survey from provider of performance management, cyber security and DDoS protection services calculates that UCaaS outages can cost up to $1m or more in lost sales and productivity

With the post-pandemic business world defined by hybrid working and the need to support more workers in more places, driving a growing necessity to support more software as a service (SaaS) applications, IT teams are facing commensurate growing challenges in monitoring and troubleshooting unified communications as a service (UCaaS) tools, according to research from Netscout Systems.

The survey in January and February 2024 took the opinions of a total sample size of 300 IT decision-makers, including 249 in the US and 51 in Canada. All participants described themselves as responsible for the unified communications and collaboration experience among their users.

The fundamental finding was that when essential platforms experience widespread and persistent outages, the disruption interrupts critical business operations and can lead to substantial financial losses. In particular, it revealed that nearly all enterprises (97%) experienced at least one major UCaaS incident or outage in 2023, lasting at least a few hours and affecting broad functionality, with 64% of respondents estimating associated losses of at least $10,000 in sales and productivity. Nearly half (47%) of enterprises with annual revenue over $10bn estimated losses of $100,000 to $1m or more.

The survey showed UCaaS platforms representing a significant percentage of overall SaaS adoption, with almost three in five organisations (59%) now supporting at least six or more UCaaS tools and applications and 10 or more SaaS tools and applications. Three-quarters of companies increased the number of SaaS tools and applications they used over the past year.

Just over half of enterprises experienced at least four major UCaaS-related outages in the past year. UCaaS platforms were responsible for the most helpdesk tickets among 37% of those surveyed, with 55% of respondents stating that it typically takes their IT organisation a few hours to resolve issues.

Enterprises with remote sites such as branch offices, warehouses, factories, satellite campuses, healthcare clinics and retail locations were found to be more heavily impacted by increased complexity, with more than 75% of helpdesk tickets requiring at least a few hours to resolve.

Mirroring other research and real life deployments, the study revealed that artificial intelligence (AI) features were important to IT decision-makers when selecting new UCaaS platforms. Of particular importance were AI prioritisation of messages by urgency, AI editing for spelling and grammar, and AI-generated text summaries of voice messages and calls.

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In a call to action, the study said that to address these challenges more effectively, there was a clear need for greater independent third-party monitoring of all UCaaS and SaaS platforms for insights into the broader communications ecosystem.

Furthermore, it suggested that by deploying packet monitoring at scale, enterprises can gain deeper visibility into platform performance, proactively identify potential issues and expedite resolution times for helpdesk tickets.

This, it said, would leave companies better able to respond to significant outages by pinpointing root causes more quickly, enhancing their operational resilience, and ultimately delivering a superior user experience for employees and customers.“When essential platforms experience widespread and persistent outages, the disruption interrupts critical business operations and can lead to substantial financial losses,” said Netscout chief operating officer Michael Szabados.

“As IT teams continue to face visibility issues, especially in large enterprises with multiple remote sites where in-person troubleshooting isn’t practical, they need independent monitoring solutions that simplify operations, quickly identify the root causes of performance problems, and limit the impact of expensive outages to keep employees online and the business running smoothly.”

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