With this continuously evolving business landscape, companies must understand the need for flexibility in order to be successful and thrive. Systems and technologies need to be in place that not only meet these extreme market conditions, but continue to protect and prepare businesses for the changes that are coming down the road. Having to use systems that don’t have the capability to adapt can force a company into a corner — making it difficult, if not impossible, to compete.
There is no greater need for flexibility than in a company’s communications system. In the past, companies were forced to make extremely large investments in traditional phone systems, only to get stuck with out-of-date features, huge support fees, and no easy (or affordable) way out. With the appropriate planning and right solution, a communications system — whether a hosted VoIP or premises-based system — can deliver powerful, customer-centric functionality with the flexibility needed to keep up with change.
In this slideshow, Digium shares five ways a unified communications (UC) business phone system can help companies thrive in today’s competitive climate.
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Click through for five ways a unified communications (UC) business phone system can help companies thrive in today’s competitive climate.
Flexible Deployment Options
The increasing use of hosted or cloud-based phone systems, along with the general trend toward unified communications as a service (UCaaS), has sparked a debate within the communications industry as to the preferred deployment method for business phone systems: cloud or on-premises.
Advice: It’s generally understood that each has its benefits and challenges, and the industry has seemingly arrived at a consensus as to which key factors play into the decision for the best solution. For on-premises, the key factors are centralized workforce, telecommunications expense handled with capital investment, in-house IT staff, and customization requirements. For cloud, they are distributed workforce/office layout, IT staff limited or completely outsourced, spending resources on phone system management not a priority, and telecommunications expense predictable — billed monthly.
As you see, the UC industry has generally agreed upon the key factors to be considered when determining whether a company should deploy its next phone system in the cloud or on-premises. But what happens if a company doesn’t clearly fit into one of those nice buckets?
Advice: A hybrid solution deploys on-premises to provide the corporate office the scalability and customization required and in a hosted environment to deliver the exact same user experience to the company’s remote locations and individual employees. On-premises and hosted can be peered together to act as one big system, connecting employees together regardless of their work location.
Migration from On-Premises to Cloud
Companies change. Cost structures and business processes that work for a company today are not necessarily the same structures or processes that will work tomorrow. Gartner is predicting a major shift toward general office migration to the cloud to over 300 percent by 2017. The vast majority of these companies are going to need to move to an entirely new platform, which may lead to significant downtime, as well as an increased cost of redeployment, and a significant learning curve for their employees.
Advice: Organizations need to be able to seamlessly migrate from an on-premises deployment to hosted to help avoid a costly forklift upgrade.
Migration from Cloud to On-Premises
Small companies oftentimes don’t have access to the required IT resources for installing and maintaining a premise-based phone system. What happens when they find success? Growth is what companies strive for. As a result they’ve likely added an appropriate IT infrastructure, and in-house IT resources, and are now looking for more flexibility and customization out of their phone system. Most importantly, the managed cost structure that a cloud deployment once provided may no longer be cost-effective for the number of users in larger organizations.
Advice: A UC system enables organizations to seamlessly migrate from hosted to on-premises as the need for customization, control and cost structure changes. Since the same software is deployed regardless of deployment model, employees are unaffected and both the cost of redeployment and potential for downtime are reduced.
Flexible Work Options
According to Global Research Analytics, since 2005, the number of people with flexible work options has grown 80 percent. It is a major trend in business today.
Advice: Flexible work options offer many benefits, such as: 1) when there are fewer employees in the office, the cost of running the building drops; 2) companies that provide the means for their employees to work remotely set themselves up for success in the event of weather-related interruptions or other types of outages; 3) though there are some jobs that do not lend themselves to working remotely, it’s been shown that productivity increases significantly in many job roles; 4) being able to work remotely is an attractive benefit when recruiting and hiring prospective talent; 5) employees with multiple work options typically have a higher satisfaction rate with their jobs and are more likely to stay with the company for a longer period of time.