Good communication is central to a thriving business, regardless of size. Organisations are continuously looking for innovative ways to improve connection and collaboration seamlessly between employees, partners, customers and suppliers in real-time and across any channel irrespective of geographical boundaries. Today’s businesses are demanding more from their cloud communications – it’s called Enterprise Communications as-a-Service. Enzo Signore, Chief Marketing Officer at 8×8 discusses how ECaaS is re-defining the cloud communications experience and how continuous communications is becoming the new killer app in business.
The goal for organisations is to improve business efficiencies, optimise workflows, improve the customer experience, increase productivity and reduce costs. ECaaS is a game changer in helping global companies achieve these goals. Customers demand a continuous communications experience, with the ability to seamlessly switch from chat, messaging and voice while roaming across multiple networks, such as 3G/4G LTE and Wi-Fi. Continuous communications is becoming the real killer app.
Whist there are very clear benefits to Unified Communications (UC), it does come with some level of complexity. Bringing together disparate communications channels in a seamless, easy to use platform that can be deployed— not just on the desktop but mobile devices as well – is a complex proposition.
Also, hosting UC on-premise requires dedicated trained staff to manage the provisioning and ongoing maintenance of the solution. There is also the question of capital outlay when expansion or upgrades are required.
Additionally, an enterprise-class UC system is a critical tool to an organisation, and therefore demands high levels of service availability and resilience. Many IT support departments may not have the staff, budget or expertise to provide an ‘always on’ 24×7 service demanded by a global workforce.
Aging PBXs and call centre infrastructure are keeping enterprise communications from meeting user and customer demands since legacy on-premise equipment cannot keep pace with mobility, conferencing and messaging. The rigid and complex systems of the past are difficult to manage and don’t easily scale or have a true global reach – let alone meet “always-on” user expectations. ECaaS is a new and evolutionary approach, seamlessly integrating voice, video, conferencing and other real-time channels to improve communication flow in any organisation.
Ease of provisioning
Moving to a cloud delivery model provides organisations the ultimate business flexibility. They can choose to give access to any employee, in any location on any device. This means technology limitations no longer dictate organisation’s provisioning strategy. Instead, the company can choose which applications will benefit the business and decide when to provision and to which users.
Cloud based solutions have lower operation management overheads in comparison to on premise solutions. IT departments are released from the general administrative management tasks, such as software upgrades and patch management, which are essential yet time intensive tasks that may require travel between office locations to perform the updates. With a cloud-based solution, these tasks are centralised, enabling the IT administrator to make the changes at the management console that will then be rolled out across the network.
Rapid deployment within weeks
With on-premise solutions, IT departments can spend months testing new applications or upgrades before rolling out to the users. With a cloud-based solution, a new application or feature upgrade can be presented to the business as soon as the service provider makes it available. This means the organisation can roll it out according to their own schedule, allowing the organisation to deploy quickly and gain a competitive edge.
Efficient use of budgets
A cloud-based solution offers organisations greater level of budgetary control than on-premise solutions. They can adopt an open utility model, operating on a pay-per-user basis and expand capacity as needed. This avoids the headache of finding capex budget for expansion. Cloud solutions also have a lower total cost of ownership in comparison to on-premise solutions since there is no upfront capital outlay or extensive IT staffing costs.
Ease of migration
Migrating from an out-dated legacy solution to a new on-premise communications and collaboration solution can be costly and invasive to the organisation. Removing old infrastructure and seamlessly replacing with a new system is costly, time-consuming and disruptive to the business. In comparison, cloud solutions offer a risk-free migration path as the company can operate a hybrid environment, introducing the new service at a pace they are comfortable with.
Taking the leap
Unified communications is a mature and proven technology and today’s cloud based service offerings are directly comparable to on-premise solutions in terms of features and benefits. Moving to a cloud delivery model provides organisations all the benefits of UC, but at a lower utility cost, removing capex as the barrier to entry. There are many cloud service solution providers to choose from, but organisations should seek a technology partner that understands their growing business today and beyond.
ECaaS has the ability to change the customer experience, the way we interact, improve business efficiencies and increase productivity. By working with a trusted advisor, organisations of all sizes can harness the power of the cloud to achieve their business objectives.