Have you wondered if your business is a candidate for using a cloud-based phone solution? Is this a topic that has been discussed recently or in the past?
While the idea of using a hosted phone system may be an easy decision for new SMB companies, it is also a topic of discussion that continues to grow in popularity by established businesses that currently use an onsite PBX.
A recent report titled Cloud PBX Market: Global Industry Analysis, Trends, Market Size, and Forecasts up to 2024 posted on researchandmarkets.com forecasts the global cloud PBX market to grow with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 23.5% between 2018-2024.
In this article we explore five ways that businesses can benefit from a cloud-based solution. No matter what stage of the process your business is at for considering cloud, it’s important to recognize the positive results that it can deliver.
Matching Bundled Features with Appropriate Employee Roles
Cloud services in general have grown considerably to the point that many business operations are run in the cloud from backup data storage, financial systems, CRM, (contact relationship management) and ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems, and business phone and unified communications solutions (UCaaS).
With a cloud phone solution designed for businesses, such as Mitel MiCloud Connect or the likes of RingCentral a formidable competitor, you still have nearly if not all the unified communication features that an onsite solution would.
One of the benefits of cloud is that it is easier to assign the right features to the appropriate role of an employee. These combination of feature sets are often called bundles.
So, for example, a business that has a customer support department may need more advanced or interactive communication functionality than those in an order receiving department, while not requiring certain mobility features that a sales rep would while frequently conducting business on the road.
You can read our case study on a law firm that describes how their attorneys frequently use mobility options and instant conferencing to improve the productivity and efficiency of their communications with each other and with clients.
Stay Current with Modern Communication Technologies
With cloud systems the roll out of new features and functionality can occur with greater speed when the infrastructure that runs your phone system is hosted by the company that develops and write the actual underlying platform software.
These important feature-enhancing updates and upgrades are no longer put on your staff to implement but is the responsibility of the phone provider.
Supposing your provider comes out with an update or enhanced feature and a month later they find that there are some issues that require a rollback, or a fix. In the cloud, if a roll back needs to happen or a fix installed, the provider’s dev team will do it for you – potentially even before you are aware of any issue.
In the cloud your company is relieved of this level of responsibility and deployment of resources. Consider for a moment if the above scenario occurred for an onsite PBX. The time to determine that there is an issue, report the issue, wait for a fix you can download, test and implement, often involves after-hours work to avoid business interruptions due to reboots of servers and switches.
That’s a lot of time your internal IT staff is spending to keep your phone system functional and operational. With cloud, the responsibility is on the phone provider to correct and implement the patches, thereby allowing your staff to spend their time on other tasks.
In other words, cloud has you covered.
Cost Savings and Friendly Budgets
With on-prem solutions there are upfront costs of hardware, licenses, appliances and even IT personnel resources. There are costly license renewals and don’t forget about hardware replacements. With cloud those types of costs are removed, so determining an ROI for cloud isn’t so much about initial investment but rather cost-savings.
According to a Tech Pro Research poll in August of 2018, executives surveyed viewed IT budgets favorably with an aggressive spend for 2019 due to a favorable business climate. Of the key investment areas, Security and cloud services were at the primary priorities for respondents (63% and 48% respectively).
Two ways cloud phone solutions help businesses reduce and manage spend are as follows:
- A pay-for-what-you-need model helps reduce overspending by having control over costs by assigning users to licenses with features appropriate for the user. Using our earlier example, those in one department may not need the same advanced features as those at the C-level of an organization.
Naturally, the costs are higher for more bundled features, and lower for fewer features. Therefore, a company can reduce costs by choosing appropriate lower bundles for users who do not need the more expensive bundles.
- Cloud-based phone systems help with predicting and planning budgets in the same way software-as-a-service (SaaS) models work. As mentioned above, the cost-savings are seen in comparison to purchasing a system outright upfront.However, the downside of a cloud-based PBX is that it is never owned by the customer like an onsite PBX is.
Whether owning your own PBX outright, such as Mitel’s MiVoice Connect, or using a hosted UCaaS, like Mitel MiCloud Connect, your business needs to make sure long-term goals are aligned with the technology of choice.This is something you should discuss with your phone provider or your phone support partner to determine which option best meets the demands of your business if you are uncertain.
Security in the Cloud
Security is becoming increasingly more complex with data breaches, integrations, DoS attacks, firewalls, mobility, and the list goes on. Having the resources to manage and handle security compliance requires IT staff and/or outsourcing to a company that handles this for you. Outsourcing these services are not cheap and rightly so. Those who manage security need to be acutely aware and up-to-date on the latest technologies available to keep your voice and data network safe.
With cloud-based solutions, security is handled by the provider for the PBX and backend infrastructure since that is the part that is hosted. Your company is still responsible for your own network security, but the hosted equipment used to run the phone system is and should be the responsibility of the provider.
Remote Users and Rented Office Spaces
Another way cloud is meeting the challenges of businesses today is making it easier to incorporate a work-from-home or remote worker workforce.
With cloud solutions, the complexities for configuring remote users essentially becomes plug-and-play on the part of the end user. Another practical example useful for the small and medium business market is that cloud can also be used for businesses that use rented office spaces. Businesses can avoid having to use numbers provided by the rental management company, and instead use their already-owned phone numbers through their hosted solution provider since there is no need for installing new lines to an onsite PBX.
When the rental space changes or a remote user moves back to the office or to another location, simply pack up the phone and plug it in at a new location. Keep in mind, this is not referring to mobility, but the actual transport of the physical phone to a new location.
Understanding the benefits of a cloud-based phone system helps businesses make the choices that are best for short and long-term goals.
Whether you are already ready to move to the cloud, are considering a move to cloud, or simply interested in learning more, feel free to contact our experts and we can provide you a demo of the Mitel MiCloud Connect solution, for whom we are a Platinum Partner. Our offices are located throughout the Midwest in Chicago, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Louisville, and Grand Rapids.