It's long been clear that the era of the phone exchange as it's traditionally worked has come to an end, but the era of its initial replacement, the traditional on-premises unified communications, is dissolving as well – not that the market is in decline. Instead, companies are migrating toward hosted unified communications solutions that leverage a diverse cloud environment.

A recent Infonetics Research study found that the market for VoIP services grew 8 percent from 2012 to 2013, and sales of hosted PBX and unified communications systems increased 13 percent. These trends suggest that business VoIP has moved into the mainstream, according to Infonetics principal analyst Diane Myers.

"Hosted unified communications are seeing strong interest up-market as midmarket and larger enterprises evaluate and move more applications to the cloud, and this is positively impacting the market," she said.

Not only are more companies considering hosted UC options, many are embracing the modern reality of UC, which is more fragmented than in the past, a recent No Jitter article reporting from the UC Summit said. While cloud hosting solutions are perfect for some business needs, many companies prefer to keep other tasks on-premises. Given these challenges, businesses can benefit from working with a managed services firm to develop a clear UC strategy that blends internal data center and external cloud resources.