The launch and rollout of new communications features is always exciting for organizations — at least for the end users. While most everyone is oohing and aahing over the next new, cool functionality, the IT team is overcaffeinated and working overtime, and the number crunchers in the C-suite may want to drink something stronger than coffee when the bill arrives.
However, organizations with cloud communications technology can realize many cloud benefits, such as virtual management and automatic upgrades.
Out with the Old, in with the Cloud
With traditional business communications technology, rolling out new features and activating upgrades is a time-consuming process — more so than the general populace realizes. It's labor-intensive and expensive, and it gets repeated again and again as new features are rolled out.
Why is this the case? The on-premises nature of traditional service requires onsite adjustments to the private branch exchange (PBX) at the company location. A PBX is an enterprise telephone system that switches calls between users on local lines, enabling everyone in an office to share a certain number of outgoing phone lines. This helps companies save money, because unless every employee will be talking on the phone at the same time, they don't all need unique external lines. It also means updates, upgrades, and new feature rollouts require PBX tweaks, testing, and maintenance.
Depending on the sophistication of the phone system and the nature of the upgrades, internal IT might be able to handle the project, but new feature rollouts often require providers to send out their own specialized technicians. This means companies must schedule technician time, wait their turn on the list of users who need upgrades, and pay the associated costs.
Either way, the process eats up IT resources. Engineers work through the night to run updates during off-hours so the company doesn't experience significant downtime during business hours. Then, they spend days (or even weeks) testing lines, ironing out kinks, and waiting on the vendor's technician to come back onsite if there are issues they can't resolve.
Of course, the time and effort is worth it. In today's hypercompetitive marketplace, companies need customer experience management to deliver exceptional service while also enabling their teams to be more productive and collaborative. However, getting the latest and greatest communications functionality doesn't have to strain IT resources or the bottom line.
Virtual management and automatic upgrades are among the key cloud benefits.
Cloud Benefits Worth Noting
Whether organizations use cloud communications or a traditional service model, the end result of updates and new feature rollouts is the same: new functionality for the enterprise. However, there are four distinct benefits of cloud solutions that should be considered:
- Easy Implementation: Cloud communications providers can make new features available system-wide, seamlessly and virtually. There is no PBX to fiddle with, no need for an onsite technician call, no time-consuming updates to run at night, and nothing for IT to do except, well, everything else it takes to run an IT department.
- Faster Innovation: When traditional providers offer new features, they must enable and test them at each business location they serve. That takes time. With cloud solutions, there is no waiting list for upgrades. New features are available to every client simultaneously, so individual business customers can access or activate this functionality whenever they choose.
- New Features More Often: With traditional service, the new feature rollout process isn't much fun for customers. It's also not a picnic for vendors. Even with staggered rollouts, it's still a lot of work, and it ties up human resources that could go toward onboarding new clients or helping to develop innovative new functionality. With cloud communications, these rollouts aren't nearly such a big deal, so cloud vendors can release new and better functionality more often than traditional vendors. Plus, with fewer resources devoted to implementation and deployment, they have more resources for ongoing and iterative innovation, the benefits of which trickle down to customers.
- Autonomy and Flexibility: Since new cloud functionality is on-demand, each business customer can be as aggressive as it wants in accessing and adopting new features or applications. This gives companies a sense of autonomy to quickly and directly address pressures and opportunities within a competitive marketplace — not to just keep up with the innovators and disrupters in their industries, but to be among them.
Both service models work, and both routinely see improvements. However, with cloud communications, innovations happen faster and everyone has access immediately. There is no implementation cost associated with upgrades, and neither the IT director nor the CFO gets a stomachache at the very mention of the phrase "new features." Instead, they get to enjoy oohing and aahing with everyone else.
To learn more about cloud benefits for your business communication needs, speak to a Vonage Business representative.