Many B2Bs are recognizing the benefits of outsourcing communications solutions management to a third party, and considering switching from legacy premises systems to cloud unified communications (UC) as the basis for their communications infrastructure strategy. According to Frost and Sullivan, primary drivers for adoption of hosted communications remain faster access to advanced features and capabilities and ability to supplement limited in-house IT staff. However, the rapidly evolving market has become inundated with multiple providers offering similar capabilities that are constantly being developed making it difficult for business IT decision makers to quickly and easily identify the best fit for their organization. This rapid market evolution is causing many businesses to adopt a wait-and-see approach or a phased migration to the cloud as they wait for technologies and business models to mature, rather than move entirely to a UC solution.
Below are just three reasons why businesses that have been reluctant to commit to a pure cloud approach should consider moving 100% to the cloud.
Reduced risk of technology obsolescence and sunk costs
Partially outsourcing communications systems requires businesses to still have significant internal resources to manage legacy gear and its integration with the UC service. As the name suggests, with cloud-based technology, all of the organization’s information lives in the cloud. Moving the entire communications infrastructure to the cloud eliminates the need to run and maintain a server. This will drastically reduce costs while freeing up internal resources for more strategic tasks. Unlike legacy software systems, which required expensive in-store software updates, cloud-based software is managed and updated off site; therefore updating a cloud phone system is no longer a hassle. Since a vendor is storing the data, they are also responsible for taking care of uptime and ensuring that the data remains secure. Savvy businesses will look for providers that offer streamlined integration with other third-party software such as Salesforce.
Simplified communications for end-users
A 100 percent cloud-based UC system gives end-users ubiquitous and seamless access to various tools across every device. Using cloud-based technology allows employees to work from any location with the company data always available and secure. Employees are no longer tied to their desks, but can work remotely and have easy access to important business data while traveling. This ease of access encourages better communication and collaboration, with the best providers offering centralized dashboards for greater control of individual users’ personal settings, extension-to-extension dialing, company-wide chat, personalized voicemail accessible from any site location and hot-desking. Hot-desking is an especially useful feature for employees to log in to any phone, at any location and turn it into their own with all of their settings, contacts, voicemail and speed dials readily available.
Avoided security threats
Storing a business’s critical data in a place that is easily accessible, secure and backed-up is imperative. A good managed security service will back up data on a regular basis, which reduces the amount of time it would take for a business to recover from a potential security threat, as well as the amount of time exposed to any risk. This is tremendously important to have in place to ensure that sensitive data is monitored and secure 24/7. Not relying on an in-house server also reduces the risk of going offline if the server crashes. Being unable to look up customer information or to process transactions can have a crippling effect on a business. With cloud-based software, however, business information is always accessible. Essentially, it future-proofs information from human error and even natural disasters.
Switching wholly from legacy premises systems to cloud UC can seem daunting, but the benefits it provides will last well into the future. The key to a successful transition is to stay focused on the operational needs of the business. By adopting cloud technologies all at once, businesses can run more efficiently on a lean budget and ensure the overall performance and lifespan of the business.