As a consequence of the pandemic, many businesses have moved to a Work from Home and remote access basis. The way they do business, the way they interact with customers and customers interact with them has radically changed.
This has meant a sea-change in internal corporate structures. New Internal and external corporate communications have placed intense pressure on IT as they implement VoIP or Cloud Phone systems on a restricted budget.
Companies that have implemented VoIP Phone Systems have seen the financial and operational benefits of VoIP Phones, but have also seen the downside reducing the cost savings. High maintenance costs, unstable internet connections, and poor quality connections are common issues.
There is also the question of multiple software platforms to support different internal and external communications needs – phone calls, video conferencing, instant messaging, and conference calls for example.
Sure, there are immediate fixes like implementing Quality of Service, increasing available bandwidth and upgrading the VoIP hardware. These fixes however can be temporary, as communications issues like security and software upgrades need more and more resources.
Problems with In-House Legacy and VoIP systems
The issues with legacy PSTN systems are the reason why many companies moved to VoIP in the first place. They are inflexible, need physical equipment, their own cabling system, and resources to manage and support them. Finally, they are expensive in capital and operational expenditure.
In today’s world, they just cannot easily and economically support remote and WFH environments, if at all. They cannot support Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS).
VoIP systems address most of these issues and provide enhanced software support for enhanced services such as automatic forwarding, hunting groups, call-waiting messages and music (If that is a benefit!) and auto attendants.
However, in-house VoIP systems can suffer from inadequate bandwidth, and jitter and latency. External communications will be unavailable if the internet connection is lost for any reason. As with legacy PSTN systems, they need continuous care and maintenance, implying resource costs.
The current buzz is to move to UcaaS and move to the Cloud. With this approach companies gather all their requirements onto a single platform, supporting phone calls, video conferencing, instant messaging, conference calls, and file sharing. The first step is to move the VoIP service to the Cloud.
One option worth looking at is moving to a Managed Service Provider (“MSP”) hosting your online systems. That will move Capital Expenditure to Operational expenditure, financed from ongoing revenues.
Moving to an MSP also offers the advantage of continuing with your current systems while the new UcaaS and Cloud Phone systems are developed. It is also likely to be much quicker.
Here are five signs that it is time for change – the move to a Cloud Phone environment.
WFH and Remote Access
Your organisation is moving to a digital environment, perhaps e-commerce, but certainly is experiencing an increased use of Work from Home. You also need to provide customer access to some operational systems.
Your current network implementation is resource-heavy and expensive to operate.
Costly Equipment Upgrades are needed
New and upgraded security software and hardware to police the WFH and remote access connections are urgently needed. Perhaps your corporate website needs a make-over to enhance the company presence on the web. Both have financial and resource implications.
Using an MSP will pass the equipment and software costs over to them, and their assistance will be very valuable when planning for the move to the Cloud.
Support resources are needed elsewhere
You need resources to rework the website and support the implementation of the new CaaS environment. They could be made available in-house, but are currently supporting the legacy VoIP and applications environment.
Using an MSP to either manage the existing systems during the implementation of the new Cloud Phone systems or using the MSP to implement new UcaaS systems on their site provides an opportunity to use existing staff in that journey, and provide them with experience and training.
If you choose to implement your new CaaS systems with an MSP, then you can carry out the implementation with minimum disruption to your existing operations.
Updated Disaster Planning
The reliance on e-commerce and online communications implies a very high risk to business stability and indeed business survival if the online systems fail for any reason or you lose the Internet connection to them. A move to the Cloud implies at least 99.99% uptime. An updated Disaster Plan is an absolute necessity, as are backup connections to your MSP.
The move to an online existence is perhaps only the first stage in a series of business changes that will happen in the next few years. AI and robotics, collectively IoT, will radically change the face of commerce and industry, particularly manufacturing. It will probably affect the domestic environment as well. Quantum computing will drive major changes in research and development, and perhaps also in other areas of business. Blockchain and cryptocurrency will affect how businesses operate and dramatically reduce the costs of international currency transfers.
Moving to the Cloud now will help you address those future challenges without major changes in your in-house environment.
Moving to VoIP in the first place has significant Capex and Opex benefits. The next step, a move to the Cloud, perhaps with an MSP providing the software and infrastructure is the next logical step.
The one linkage between all these potential drivers of change is the Cloud. A prudent business needs to continually review its IT Strategy to be able to remain sufficiently flexible to react to these changes.