… and three considerations to keep in mind before moving to cloud calling
Today, our workforce is still spread out between those working in offices and those working remotely, with some planning on returning to the office full-time and others remaining remote or on a hybrid model for the foreseeable future. With disparate lines of communication like these, is the shortest distance between “Point A” and “Point B” still through traditional office communications systems?
We’ve heard a lot lately about how much workplace communication has changed in the past year and a half, but the way we communicated prior to the COVID-19 pandemic was already changing quickly. The shift to remote communication that followed simply accelerated that change.
Can you hear me now?
While many organizations have remained invested in on-prem calling infrastructure, the reality is that today, the shortest path between two people who need to communicate is often through an internet connection, using a unified communications system with a cloud calling solution. Adapting our communication systems to this new architecture can future-proof (and even potentially improve) our lines of communication in and outside of the office.
Here are five reasons why cloud calling is the preferred architecture of the modern workplace:
1. Cloud calling is the most direct route between Point A and Point B.
Back in the stone age of early 2020, if you wanted to reach someone in your office quickly, you’d most likely have called their office landline. That’s because when we could count on a finite number of employees working in the same place at the same time, the obvious choice was to place call controls in the office. Today, that co-worker may be working from home, from a coffee shop, or even a hoteling cubicle elsewhere. It actually makes more sense now to place your communication systems in the cloud rather than to force that call traffic back through the office. Ensuring that your calls have the most direct route between endpoints will result in clearer, more stable connections every time, no matter where Points A or B resides.
2. Less maintenance + fewer upgrade costs = lower TCO.
Many cloud calling service providers now offer full-use Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) subscription options. This means that there are no servers, no phone companies to deal with (since you use your cloud calling provider as your phone company), and you can even rent the phones you use. The best part? Since many cloud calling service providers use a development model, upgrades and new features happen on the back end with no hands-on maintenance required.
3. Cloud calling bundles bring a number of collaboration features with them.
One of the challenges of our new remote-hybrid communications reality is keeping organic interactions alive. With remote communication, we’ve lost some of the human interaction between co-workers, partners, suppliers and customers that benefit from the visual nature of person-to-person interaction. Luckily, unified communications bundles that combine cloud calling with video solutions and online collaboration help fill this need for face-to-face interaction. In some cases, these features can even arguably improve upon the in-person experience with advanced features like transcription, closed captioning, real-time language translation, voice assistants, audience engagement tools, and capabilities for large-scale events supporting thousands of participants.
4. The importance of contact center and customer care solutions is at an all-time high.
When the way we communicated changed dramatically last year, it didn’t just impact in-office employees; it impacted customer service as well. Luckily, there are some cloud calling providers like Webex that give you the option to add-on true omni-channel contact center solutions and scale up your customer service capabilities. Bolting a solution like Webex Contact Center onto Webex calling unlocks valuable new features, including email, chat, text, social integrations, bots, artificial intelligence, outbound calling campaigns, dialogue flows and more. Cloud call center solutions like these can help ensure that your organization is prepared to scale up or down as your business requires, no matter where your employees are.
5. Cloud calling is here to stay.
Cloud calling hasn’t just caught up to traditional on-prem business calling platforms—in many ways, it has surpassed it. Cloud calling’s flexible architecture is a better fit for the modern, distributed workplace. The security and the resiliency that it offers are stronger and more reliable than most on-prem calling systems, and most importantly it does all this while providing the same call quality with less effort than what you’re using today.
All of this sounds fantastic in theory, but what if your organization has already invested in costly on-prem calling infrastructure?
Here are three important things to keep in mind when considering a move to cloud calling:
1. Flexible licensing.
Some licensing programs, like Cisco’s, give you the flexibility to choose between an on-premises licensing solution or a cloud-based solution within the same contract, allowing you to transition your organization from an on-prem solution to the cloud at your own pace. Others require you to abandon your on-prem solution entirely and move everyone to the cloud in one step. The best option for your business depends on your unique business needs and the number of employees in your organization. Depending on the size of your organization, it may also be worth considering an enterprise agreement that includes options like a growth allowance built into your plan.
2. Dealing with landlines.
You’ve got to connect to the phone company somewhere, right? Well, that depends on your cloud calling provider. With Webex Calling by Cisco, for example, you have the option to use Cisco as your phone company, to use one of Cisco’s cloud-connected providers, or to provide your own. Consider your transition plan. If you have public switched telephone network (PSTN) trunks under contract with a local exchange carrier, a flexible cloud calling provider will allow you to continue those existing contracts until they’re expired, and then transition into a cloud-based plan when needed.
3. The partner helping you with this transition.
Making the decision to move from on-prem calling to cloud calling is not a trivial one. To ensure that your transition is as seamless as possible, you’ll need a qualified partner to help with the migration so your organization doesn’t miss a beat.
The good news is that a qualified digital collaboration partner like Sirius can make transitioning to cloud calling so quick and easy, most of your employees won’t even notice that you’ve changed to a completely new calling infrastructure. At the same time, you’ll be prepared for any unforeseen communications challenges that the future might bring.