Elka Popova - Analyst Profile

Program Director
Frost & Sullivan
Information & Communication Technologies


Functional Expertise

12 years of market analysis and strategic consulting expertise with a focus on enterprise communications and next-generation technologies. Particular expertise in:

-Market and competitive intelligence
-Market forecasting
-Trend analysis and strategic insight
-Strategy development and client growth consulting
Industry Expertise
Experience base covering a broad range of industry sectors, leveraging long-standing working relationships with leading industry participants’ Senior Executives. Areas of focus include:
-Enterprise telephony and messaging
-Unified communications and collaboration
-Hosted/cloud-based communications and SaaS
-SIP trunking and VoIP access services
What I bring to the Team
  • Extensive knowledge of various enterprise communications technologies and markets
  • The ability to leverage a broad set of qualitative and quantitative analytical tools to develop comprehensive and in-depth market, product and competitive analyses
  • Strong management and interpersonal skills based on 7 years of team leadership and over 15 years of extensive client interactions and project management

Career Highlights

Before Frost & Sullivan, market research and competitive intelligence roles at, Platinum Technology and the Bulgarian-American Enterprise Fund.
  • Master of International Management from Thunderbird, School of Global Management, Glendale, AZ, U.S.A.
  • Master of English and American Literature and Linguistics from KlimentOhridsky University, Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Master of Financial Management from National University of Business Administration and Economics, Sofia, Bulgaria

Areas of expertise

Recent items from Elka Popova

Strategic Implications for Cisco, Technology Partners, Service Providers, Platform Vendors and End Customers
On October 23rd, 2017, BroadSoft announced its impending acquisition by Cisco, which marked the unified communications as-a-service (UCaaS) industry’s crossing of the Rubicon. With its inception in 1998, BroadSoft heralded the rise of cloud/hosted services and, for almost two decades, symbolized the next generation of business communications, standing tall against the “establishment” embodied by Avaya, Cisco and the other private branch exchange (PBX) vendors. As new cloud providers emerged, occasionally referring to BroadSoft as a provider of “legacy” hosted technology, BroadSoft stuck to its guns as an independent telco carrier enabler, avoiding direct competition with its channel. With this acquisition, BroadSoft surrendered its independent status to the powerhouse of the old guard Cisco and ended an era that forever changed the enterprise communications space. At the same time, BroadSoft’s acquisition by none other than the leading premises-based UC platform vendor provides strong validation of the industry’s move to cloud. It’s important to examine how this acquisition, if successfully completed, will affect the different stakeholders. This analysis focuses on the acquisition’s impact on Cisco, endpoint and technology partners, UCaaS providers, UCaaS platform vendors and end customers. Intensifying competition is posing challenges to everyone in the ecosystem—including pure-play telco platform vendors such as BroadSoft, Centile, Metaswitch and netsapiens; traditional telcos such as AT&T, CenturyLink and Verizon; cable operators such as Comcast and Spectrum; next-generation UCaaS providers such as 8x8, Fuze, Jive Communications, Nextiva, RingCentral, Star2Star and Vonage; and more diversified UC providers straddling the premises-based and cloud worlds such as Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, Cisco, Microsoft, Mitel, NEC and Unify. In an effort to adapt to evolving market trends and become more competitive, some of these participants are reaching far outside their comfort zones and launching new solutions and strategies that require significant asset and skillset re-alignment. Particularly notable are Cisco, Microsoft and Mitel’s concerted efforts over the past few years to shift their businesses toward a more cloud-centric portfolio and market position. Premises-based UC system vendors are looking to the cloud as an opportunity to differentiate, generate new revenue streams and deliver greater value to their installed customers. Some vendors have been slower to successfully address this challenge, thus adopting a defensive stance, whereas others have pursued it more aggressively as a growth opportunity. Vendor market approaches also differ in terms of their role in the hosted IP telephony and UCaaS value chain. Some UC vendors have become service providers delivering services under their own brand, while others have chosen to deliver hosted communications solutions through service provider partners. As third-party platform providers, UC vendors compete against more established service provider platform developers such as BroadSoft, which compels them to develop unique value propositions for both service providers and end customers. Accelerating merger and acquisition activity in the UCaaS space demonstrates a growing provider need for faster speed to market and greater market power. Cisco’s acquisition of BroadSoft is an important part of ongoing market consolidation that is likely to affect various stakeholders. In one broad swipe, Cisco filled a gap in its portfolio, dramatically expanded its share in the rapidly growing UCaaS market, created more opportunities to sell its communications endpoints, entered the SIP trunking and residential VoIP space, and eliminated a formidable competitor. Should the acquisition complete successfully, it will be well worth Cisco’s $1.9 billion investment. Changes are likely to take place; most will be for the better, but some may pose challenges to the BroadSoft ecosystem. Like most other acquisitions, the Cisco-BroadSoft deal could be viewed as a sacrifice of competitive options for the benefit of a stronger UCaaS market growing forward. Also, further M&A activity is likely to ensue and company valuations are likely to be impacted by how this deal was priced.
Published: Nov 14 2017 Other
Providers Reposition and Realign Strategies to Ensure Long-term Success
Forward-thinking businesses increasingly evaluate advanced communications and collaboration solutions as part of their digital transformation initiatives. However, other priorities such as security, network reliability, cloud migration and Internet of Things (IoT) often supersede communications upgrade projects. Growing customer demand for more flexible technology consumption models to support digital transformation projects represents a key growth driver. Premises-based communications solutions reaching end of life and increasing availability of compelling UCaaS offerings are also encouraging the move to cloud communications. Service providers face different challenges in their pursuit of UCaaS revenue growth and market share gains. Rapid technology advancements and competitive dynamics create sense of uncertainty and delay investment/upgrade decisions. Premises-based solutions are often favored for security, control and customization/integration reasons. Provider repositioning and strategy realignment are likely to determine the industry’s evolution and growth trajectory over the next few years. M&A, bankruptcy protection, internal reorganization, international expansion, as well as solution repackaging will aim to improve industry health and boost customer confidence in service and company long-term viability. In addition to growing customer interest in moving communications to the cloud, UCaaS adoption will be highly impacted by the availability of strong market participants with visionary strategies, broad geographic presence, solid financial performance and affordable, feature-rich solutions. Market growth over the forecast period will be driven by both existing provider new user acquisition as well as the entry of new service providers and/or launch of new UCaaS solutions. Key growth opportunities in the UCaaS market exist in the following areas: • UCaaS enhancements (e.g., contact center, advanced collaboration, analytics, native mobility) • Broader portfolio diversification (e.g., SD WAN, communications platform as a service (CPaaS), adoption and other value-added services) • Improved end-user and IT admin experience (e.g., portal, messaging-centric user interface, greater service quality and reliability, free trials) • Tailored solutions (e.g., verticals, micro-business, mid-market and enterprise) • Greater market reach (e.g., channel expansion, international presence, digital engagement) While more “traditional” UCaaS solutions will continue to experience rapid adoption, the industry will begin to gradually transform under the impact of both internal and external forces. The emergence of “productivity UC”, “vertical UC”, “IoT UC” and other forms of embedded communications is likely to disrupt provider business models, solution prices, customer use cases and other market dynamics. As communications vendors provide open application programming interfaces (APIs) and as CPaaS offerings gain traction, businesses will have more options for deploying communications and collaboration functionality from both traditional communications providers and new market entrants with software as a service (SaaS), cloud or other backgrounds.
Published: Sep 21 2017 Market Research
ISDN Decommissioning to Accelerate Cloud Communications Adoption
The European hosted Internet Protocol (IP) telephony and unified communications as a service (UCaaS) market continues on a strong growth trajectory that is creating value for businesses and growth opportunities for service providers. European telecom carrier initiatives to discontinue Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) services are driving carrier and customer migration to IP connectivity services as well as adoption of next-generation business communication solutions such as hosted private branch exchange (PBX) and UCaaS. Other growth drivers in this market include: increasing supply of compelling hosted IP telephony and UCaaS offerings, expanding feature sets, and growing acceptance of cloud communications among the reseller channel. This market study provides a detailed discussion of market drivers and restraints, user and revenue forecasts, market share analysis and competitor assessment. It also identifies key growth opportunities in the European hosted IP telephony and UCaaS market. This study can help technology vendors, service providers and resellers develop compelling UCaaS solutions portfolios and effective market strategies.
Published: Mar 01 2017 Market Research
Cloud Communications Solutions Evolve to Align with an API Economy
The North American hosted Internet protocol (IP) telephony and unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) market is approaching mass adoption in the small and medium-size business (SMB) segment and experiencing accelerated growth in the mid-market and large-enterprise segments. Businesses are undergoing profound transformation as they adopt advanced information technologies (IT) and innovative communications solutions to improve worker productivity, business agility and overall competitive positioning. To address new market challenges, businesses must embrace new technology consumption models and engage with trusted technology providers. This creates considerable opportunities for service providers and vendors to diversify their portfolio, generate new revenues, differentiate from the competition and sustain profitable growth in the future.
Published: Nov 03 2016 Market Research
Leveraging Third-party Expertise and Resources for Better Communications Asset Management
Businesses are increasingly seeking to outsource various information technology (IT) tasks as well as end-to-end IT infrastructure management in order to improve operational efficiencies, leverage a partner’s stronger technology expertise, and gain a competitive edge. Managed customer premises equipment (CPE) services, including managed Internet Protocol (IP) telephony and unified communications and collaboration (UCC) solutions, deliver compelling value to businesses looking to delegate day-to-day infrastructure management tasks to a trusted partner so they can focus on more strategic projects. This Buyers’ Guide provides an overview of several managed premises-based IP telephony and UCC services providers and solutions. Due to the diverse and fragmented nature of the North American managed premises-based IP telephony and UCC services market, Frost & Sullivan has selected leading providers in key market participant groups, including IP telephony and UCC solution vendors, telecommunications carriers, value-added resellers and systems integrators, as well as specialized managed services providers. In addition to merit, the providers were selected based on their willingness to participate in this research.
Published: May 30 2016 Outlook
Businesses Embrace the Cloud for Greater Flexibility
The rapidly growing European hosted Internet protocol (IP) and unified communications and collaboration (UCC) services market is creating opportunities for both European and international providers delivering compelling next-generation solutions. The study discusses factors that are impacting growth opportunities in the European hosted IP telephony and UCC services market. It provides market size projections in terms of installed users and revenues. The study also includes service provider positioning and market share assessment. This analysis can provide market participants with valuable insights on how to better compete in this rapidly evolving market.
Published: Dec 08 2015 Market Research
The Perfect Storm for Cloud Unified Communications & Collaboration
The North American hosted IP telephony and UCC services market is undergoing major changes as it moves from early-adopter to mass-adoption stage. Increasing customer awareness of cloud communications is driving adoption, yet is also leading to greater scrutiny of service quality and reliability. Heightened customer requirements along with the proliferation of cloud solutions with little differentiation is compelling providers to seek mergers and acquisitions to gain efficiencies, economies of scale, and better compete in the marketplace. In spite of intensifying competition, however, the still-untapped North American cloud communications market continues to present considerable growth opportunities for both existing and new market participants. This study provides market participants with an in-depth analysis of market trends and challenges to help them develop more sustainable growth strategies.
Published: Jul 13 2015 Market Research
Supporting Partners Through the Market Transition
The enterprise communications market is transitioning to a blended ecosystem of services and software-centric platforms deployed on the customer premises. The range of components that can be part of the UC stack is also expanding. Partners are vital to expand vendor reach and to foster close customer relationships needed for higher-value UC sales. Developing a framework to support a diverse partner network is essential to achieve partner-led success. Vendors must recruit partners from UC adjacencies and help existing partners expand their skill sets.
Published: May 07 2015 Market Insights
Future-proofing Communications Investments
Businesses recognize the benefits of cloud communications and are increasingly migrating to hosted IP telephony and UCC services. However, many well-established and emerging providers are vying for customers’ attention and investment dollars. It is, therefore, critical that business decision makers conduct their due diligence and assess the available offerings thoroughly to make wise investments that best address their specific needs. This buyers’ guide discusses key market and technology trends in the hosted IP telephony and UCC services market and provides in-depth provider and solution analyses along with specific customer recommendations.
Published: Jan 31 2015 Market Insights
What Decision Makers Should Know about Top Providers
The dynamic video conferencing services market is experiencing rapid growth. However, the increasing variety of solutions and providers leaves prospective customers and partners with a lot of investigating to do. This study profiles a range of leading providers in North America. It contains a template of information that customers and partners should request from prospective video conferencing service providers. More specifically, it offers detailed analyses of provider market positioning and service offerings, including both managed and hosted video conferencing services. It will help customer organizations to make better-informed decisions when selecting video conferencing solutions and providers.
Published: Nov 25 2014 Market Insights
Both ShoreTel and Interactive Intelligence reported their CY Q4 results this week and both have a lot to brag about, especially compared to some of the larger vendors in the enterprise communications space. ShoreTel reported 9% y/y growth in premises revenues and 27% y/y growth in hosted IP telephony revenues. Some other success metrics included s...
31 Jan 2014 Blog post
Today, November 11th, 2013, Mitel and Aastra announced plans to merge. Details of the transaction are available in this press release. Here are some of the highlights: Aastra shareholders receive 3.6 Mitel shares and US$6.52 in cash for every Aastra share. The cash and stock transaction has been valued on closing at approximately CAD$392M. Usi...
11 Nov 2013 Blog post
On July 16th, Siemens Enterprise Communications (SEN) announced Project Ansible—SEN’s vision and technology evolution roadmap for the future of enterprise communications. My colleague Mike Brandenburg who attended Siemens Enterprise Communications’ analyst event already wrote about this initiative in as much detail as he was allowed to provide at t...
16 Jul 2013 Blog post
Social networks and social media have rapidly become a key element of our daily interactions with family, friends, and business associates. Capitalizing on the ubiquity and improving quality of the public Internet, growing computer and Internet literacy among younger generations, and demand for maintaining relationships in an increasingly dynamic s...
28 May 2013 Blog post
Aastra hosted its annual Aastra Analyst Conference last week (May 8 through May 10) which provided analysts with an update on the vendor’s portfolio roadmap and strategy for the global communications market. Not surprising, its research and development (R&D) efforts are focused on mobility, video, cloud/hosted, and social media for the contact cent...
14 May 2013 Blog post
It’s been a week since I came back from Enterprise Connect in Orlando and I finally found the time to sit down and share my thoughts on some of the key announcements made at the event. Better late than never, right? I may be biased because of my personal interest in cloud/hosted communications, but it seemed that there was a lot of buzz around clo...
28 Mar 2013 Blog post
Today, March 18th, 2013, at Enterprise Connect, Avaya introduced several new offerings as part of its Avaya Collaborative Cloud portfolio. The announcements included cloud video conferencing, a managed private contact center solution, and a cloud unified communications (UC) and customer experience solution. In this article I’d like to provide my pe...
18 Mar 2013 Blog post
Today, Vidtel, an innovative cloud video telephony and video conferencing provider, announced interoperability of its MeetMe and Gateway services with WebRTC video endpoints. This announcement is significant both for the entrepreneurial provider and the industry as a whole. Vidtel can now serve a new customer segment that is bound to grow exponenti...
30 Jan 2013 Blog post
In a previous blog post, I talked about the role of social media in creating new beliefs and behavioral patterns. Here I’d like to talk about how social media is making our world flatter and what that means for individuals and society. The “flattening of the world” refers to the gradual disappearing of geographic limitations and the leveling of th...
21 Jan 2013 Blog post
In a previous blog post, I talked about the role of social media in creating new beliefs and behavioral patterns. Here I’d like to talk about how social media is making our world flatter and what that means for individuals and society. The “flattening of the world” refers to the gradual disappearing of geographic limitations and the leveling of th...
21 Jan 2013 Blog post
As I busily shared greetings, thoughts, and photos on Facebook during the holiday season, I decided to write a post about the impact of social media and social networking on our lives today. Then I remembered an article I had posted about three years ago on a site that no longer exists. I searched for the draft on my computer and, as I read it, I f...
02 Jan 2013 Blog post
Have you ever wondered what a CIO’s letter to Santa might look like? In a previous post, I shared the key findings of two recent Frost & Sullivan studies that surveyed the opinions of North American C-level executives and senior IT staff on unified communications & collaboration (UCC) tools adoption and investment plans. Based on these findings an...
09 Dec 2012 Blog post
As the new year approaches, we are all trying to predict what it will be like for the unified communications and collaboration (UCC) market and the information and communications (ICT) industry as a whole. We wish to know what tools and technologies will best resonate with end users and what decision-makers who hold the company budget will choose t...
30 Nov 2012 Blog post
  Maybe not the smartest, but certainly VERY smart! Headsets have come a long way since the early days when they were just dumb peripherals with no intelligence of their own. Even those simpler headsets gave the user comfort and flexibility and the benefit of noise cancellation. In fact, I am using one of those now, mostly because of its simplici...
15 Nov 2012 Blog post
Frost & Sullivan recently conducted a survey of 263 North American IT decision makers including C-level executives and IT management. The survey explored awareness and usage of various unified communications and collaboration (UCC) tools and applications, trends in communications devices, ICT infrastructure, and hosted and managed services, and bud...
08 Nov 2012 Blog post
Some of the most exciting technology topics today include social search, data mining, and, in general, big-data analytics. These technology trends can determine some very personal decisions (e.g., which restaurant to go to), but can also have a very powerful impact on broader investor decisions and financial markets. This article on Facebook and fr...
24 Sep 2012 Blog post

Elka's Tweets

Help Desk

Full list of offices

For more information and general enquiries, contact Frost & Sullivan near you.

North America
tel: +1.877.463.7678

Select a location near you..