If you want succeed in business, you need to focus on your core competency, be responsive to customers, and compete effectively in today’s cutthroat marketplace. There will always be roadblocks to success; you must eliminate or alleviate the majority of things standing in your way. One demon that always rears its head is technology. Unified communications (UC) technology is growing in popularity for many reasons: mobility, multiple collaboration tools, flexible access, etc. But as premises-based UC systems evolve, they grow in cost and complexity to deploy and manage. To leverage all that UC offers without draining IT resources, businesses are exploring cloud-based UC systems and other subscription-based service delivery models that provide greater flexibility, cut costs and future-proof technology investments. It is therefore cloud unified communications that will save the day. Here are five reasons why companies are choosing cloud UC as their communications platform.
1) Power to the User
Businesses with on-premises communications systems struggle to support the advanced technology that users crave. Professionals leverage a growing arsenal of tools to stay in touch with clients, colleagues and partners. To add to the challenge, they also want to use the same tools they have at their office when at another company location, at home and on the road. But not all Cloud systems can support flexible access. Cloud UC systems powered by Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) technology use devices as the building blocks on which features and capabilities are built; this makes switching between devices cumbersome. In contrast, UC systems that are housed 100 percent in the cloud are built around users, not devices. The user is assigned all the UC features that they need, such as telephony, presence, instant messaging, audio, video and Web conferencing, and more. The features follow the user to whichever device they want without the need for technicians to make changes to the device itself. This level of flexible access to UC tools improves productivity, fosters information-sharing and increases business agility.
2) On-site UC is Costly and Complex
While unified communications can improve business performance, premises-based UC systems can also create a more intricate IT environment and new challenges for IT staff. Rapid technology evolution and accelerated refresh cycles raise IT costs and risks associated with product obsolescence in onsite implementations. Since onsite UC is cost prohibitive, businesses are opting to purchase it for significantly lower costs via Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery models offered by a growing number of cloud service providers. Obtaining UC technology via a SaaS model lowers operational costs and oftentimes requires zero capital investment, which makes it a much more attractive option than its on-premises counterpart.
3) Manage All Communications Online
There is a myriad of benefits to leveraging cloud-based unified communications. One important factor is that many cloud UC systems are accompanied by intuitive Web portals that provide IT staff and end users with considerable control and make communications easy to manage and use. By empowering end users, these online portals improve employee productivity and provide significant cost-savings to organizations looking to streamline and delegate routine IT functions. A great example of an online portal is Broadview Networks’ MyOfficeSuite™ that lets customers manage all their OfficeSuite® UC services in one intuitive, mobile-responsive dashboard.
4) Mitigate the Risk of Downtime
Advanced disaster avoidance and business continuity make cloud UC solutions particularly compelling to forward-thinking business decision-makers looking to reduce the risk of disruptive downtime. While on-premises systems offer little to no flexible access, cloud-based systems enable secure access via any device. Inclement weather, local power outages and other emergencies can all be easily avoided without forcing an IT administrator to access the system onsite to make changes.
5) Faster, Cheaper Access to Advanced Features
Finally, cloud UC technologies enable businesses to gain faster, more economical access to advanced functionality and a larger pool of technology skills. A cloud unified communications solution provides access to a broad set of integrated capabilities such as phone, messaging, presence, conferencing, and mobility presents a viable option for businesses of any size and industry seeking a competitive advantage. Let the buyer beware, however: some ‘cloud’ solutions store some portion of data in onsite devices which severely detracts from its ease of use and mobility. Seek out a truly 100 percent cloud-based solution if you want to derive the greatest value from unified communications.
To learn more, download the free Frost & Sullivan whitepaper “Staying Ahead of the Curve with Hosted IP PBX and Cloud Communications”.