The challenge for most organizations is to bring all of their communications—voice, messaging, instant messaging, audio/video conferencing, collaboration, mobility, and enterprise social media—into an integrated solution in order to serve the needs of their employees. This is often easier and more cost-effective for companies when they choose the cloud in order to meet their unified communications and collaboration (UCC) needs.
Some companies choose to start their migration to the cloud by implementing Microsoft Office 365; others may start with hosted email. In any event, migration to the cloud should be a well-thought-out process that starts with understanding end-user needs. Organizations need to understand what legacy systems are in place and what the status of those systems will be during and after migration or business can be disrupted. More and more, companies are turning to their value-added resellers (VARs) for help with implementing UCC in the cloud, and today there are new ways to think about this migration:
It may not be in a customer’s best interest to do a “cold turkey” migration of all of its UCC to a hosted implementation. There may be systems and processes that may not migrate smoothly, or there may be recent investments that need to be preserved. VARs can help their clients understand the best way to move to the cloud, and, in some cases, this may include hybrid implementation. This allows organizations to use the cloud for some applications, keep others on premises for whatever reason, and limit their capital expenditures. The cloud can also cost-effectively provide crucial systems backup for business continuity in a hybrid environment.
Video as a Service (VaaS)
Within the last decade, video conferencing solutions became available in the cloud as a service. Video conferencing is something that, when implemented in the cloud, offers businesses integration with different types of premises-based video tools. This can help protect existing investments and may add features to video conferencing capabilities. Businesses using cloud-based video conferencing get affordable, seamless connectivity and collaboration without the worry of hardware and infrastructure expenses.
Contact Center in the Cloud
The global cloud-based contact center market is expected to grow from $4.68 billion in 2015 to $14.71 billion by 2020, offering an excellent opportunity for VARs to make sales. Known as “contact center as a service” (CCaaS), it allows customers to implement and scale with nominal capital outlay. Agents can utilize chat and analytics in addition to voice and email, and channels can be added as needed from the cloud. Small and medium-sized businesses that could not previously afford contact center equipment will be able to use CCaaS economically.
The cloud is important for companies that need to enable an enterprise mobility strategy, either with or without BYOD (“bring your own device”). The cloud can provide management support, data protection, and security for mobile devices, even for smaller businesses. As new applications for mobile devices are developed, deployment is simple using cloud-based infrastructure.
Cloud Enterprise Social Media
Enterprise social media (ESM) in the cloud allows companies to connect workers, partners, suppliers, and customers in a way that information and applications can be easily shared. Businesses can use ESM in order to increase collaboration, solve business issues, improve knowledge transfer, and increase sales. Using cloud-based services, a business can reduce costs and provide the opportunity for more people to engage with each other, and the system can be easily scaled. Even small and medium-sized enterprises can afford ESM when they use cloud-based applications.
As new ways to collaborate in the cloud become more popular for enterprises in 2016 and beyond, VARs will have the opportunity to educate their customers about how they can keep their competitive edge through improved productivity, enhanced customer responsiveness, and cost-effectiveness.
Does your company sell UCC in the cloud? Do you see more customers migrating to the cloud for their UCC needs? Please comment below.