As technology continues to evolve, more vendors have sought to take their services into the cloud. This remains true in the realm of voice. Voice vendors are increasingly working to move their services to a cloud-based solution and are seeking to reach a wider audience with new innovations and greater access to their services. As vendors continue to make their move into the cloud, they are looking to address several concerns within their customer base, ranging from geographic location to hardware costs, to integration with existing infrastructure. Fortunately, vendors have made it simpler for many organizations to consider moving from on-premises voice systems into the cloud. In this discussion, we will see some of the options that vendors provide to assist their customers’ capabilities to migrate from an on-premises voice system into a cloud-based environment.
1. Increased mobility across entire organization
Moving a voice environment into the cloud opens the door for additional mobility. According to Global Workplace Analytics users working from home (WFH) has rose 173% from 2005 to 2018. The significant part of this statistic is that WFH has been on a steep climb since the early 200’s and was only accelerated by the lockdowns. The trend overall, is likely to continue.
Previously, having a WFH employee required significant, additional overhead on the administrator’s side to setup a single user at home. Fortunately, with voice in the cloud, this overhead is largely handled by the carrier infrastructure, and helps administrators to easily add and maintain a user base that is WFH. In addition, most voice vendors have applications that can be installed on the end-user’s Smart device, allowing them access to business applications and services from that device. This lets businesses save on the cost of additional phones for every user that works from home. Along with the Smartphone apps many vendors have a softphone option which ensures businesses can have their voice calls remain on business equipment. This increased flexibility allows businesses the mobility to have their employees stationed anywhere, all the while maintaining access to their voice services.
2. Saves money on hardware
With the move into the cloud, businesses adopt a pre-existing infrastructure set up that is maintained by the vendors. This is a great opportunity for those with older voice infrastructures who are looking to invest into their voice system while not having to go out of pocket to replace their pre-existing hardware. Even greater, for those who wish to have a mixed on-premises/cloud voice system, many vendors offer this kind of hybrid solution to allow businesses to make a smoother transition into the voice cloud infrastructure. This is a win/win from a business perspective because the transition to the cloud is at a pace that works best for the business.
3. More resilient design (services remain online even when office goes down)
One of the biggest benefits from the voice-in-the-cloud design comes from the resiliency that is gained by migrating to the cloud. Voice vendors across the United States have data centers that are based both nationally and internationally to ensure that constant availability is maintained for their user base. Organizations can maintain most of their communications, even if their main office goes offline or is undergoing maintenance. Without available communications a business’s operations come to a halt, the voice-in-the-cloud model provides a solid, always available solution, as opposed to the downtime that can be experienced when maintaining an on-premises communications architecture.
4. Simplified access for clients and administrators
One of the bigger challenges that voice vendors have had to overcome is the user friendliness of their interfaces. As more voice vendors move to the cloud, they are seeking to minimize complexity and increase the simplicity with which their users interact with their products. For administrators, this means having access to all the tools they need in an easy to access format, to service their internal customers. For users, this means a design that allows for easy adoption of the product in terms of overall usability, a more attractive interface, smarter integration with existing applications, allowing a better and more memorable user experience.
5. More collaboration across teams
Another gap that voice vendors are seeking to bridge involves the level of collaboration that the user base has with each other. Business in the past often involved applications from several different vendors, each with their own communications platform: one for calling capabilities, another for file sharing, one for meetings, IM services, etc. The collaboration world of today is seeking to bridge these gaps by integrating or offering all these services under one platform. This has enabled increased participation for teams, whether remote or in-office to more easily collaborate with one another.
6. Capability to use existing infrastructure
For businesses that are hesitant to move their voice systems into a cloud-based infrastructure, many voice vendors are offering hybrid solutions to allow for existing infrastructure to be maintained in conjunction with moving certain voice services into the cloud. This can be particularly useful for the business that has to maintain specific services not currently available in the cloud. A hybrid solution can allow them to maintain existing access to these on-premises solutions while also reaping the benefits of a cloud-based voice infrastructure. Additional benefits include savings on the initial turnover into the cloud, as well as the maintained capability to have the technology close by, for businesses who require a more hands-on approach to their technology. Hybrid solutions also give businesses the opportunity to take their time with the move into the cloud. Creating simplified and calculated transitions from an on-premises to a cloud-based infrastructure.
Current trends show that voice vendors will continue to move their services away from the on-premises model to a cloud-based model. Several benefits exist for voice customers who make the move to the cloud-based model, and vendors are making that decision easier than ever by providing several different setup options to make the transition as simple as possible. Additionally, vendors are offering great incentives for customers to make the move by including renewed collaboration features; re-designed applications; increased mobility; savings on hardware costs; and many other features and services.