Organisations are now adopting the latest technology to streamline a range of business administration and processes, one of the latest being Cloud Telephony. Cloud-based Telephony comes with many benefits over the more traditional on-premise solutions which you can find listed out neatly across nearly every telecoms website. However one of the benefits rarely touched upon is the ability to ease day to day administration and consolidate a geographically and technologically diverse estate. A system is only as strong as its weakest link and business phone systems have a whole lot of links—from users to administrators and other systems.
Allow me to describe a fictional but common scenario that IT managers face:
Imagine that you’ve just been part of a dream merger in which you have acquired a firm that is going to add both value to how you operate and your company as a whole. The plan is to absorb the new business under the existing brand whilst allowing it to continue to trade. As well as merging the companies, you need to merge all that comes with it including the phone systems and communications.
You go about getting it all set up but discover that their in-house PBX is a different brand to yours. Do you leave them as separate entities and operations? You start to look into integrating the two together but find that to do this you need to spend a lot on new hardware. This then begins to get time-consuming.
So what are your options? Managing communications for a business is challenging enough at one location, but more challenging with multiple locations. This is especially true as with the above example of acquisitive organisations that have inherited multiple phone systems over a number of years, and are now charged with their maintenance and integration across the estate. For some companies, the acquisitions happened years ago and the enterprise has been living with the pain and expense of a tangle of diverse systems for a long time.
Companies that are looking after multiple locations with on-premises PBX’s have to contend with the fact that different locations could be running disconnected systems of different ages with different capabilities. Systems may not even be from the same vendor. Capabilities may be lost to interoperability problems. Productivity may be lost to inefficient communications. Getting every location onto a single standard may look close to an impossible task, but this is where cloud-based telephony really begins to shine.
Cloud telephony allows the consolidation of equipment and allows IT managers to benefit from standardised capabilities and total interoperability across locations. When upgrades happen, they happen everywhere simultaneously, maintenance is outsourced to the hosted PBX provider and fewer resources are required to understand and use systems across the business. Processes can also be standardised for greater efficiency and in most cases and you are able to reuse Cloud ready hardware to reduce costs. Simply put, for businesses who want phone systems working together across multiple locations, cloud hosted PBX systems present a much simpler and cheaper option to implement and maintain.
Now imagine the same scenario, only you have decided to implement a Cloud Telephony platform instead. You had heard that Cloud Telephony would make consolidation and onboarding of new sites easy and to your delight, it’s true. Cloud Telephony systems allow you to add extra phones to the system easily and bring the newly merged sites into one managed solution. Calls flow as you want and collaboration within the firm means the merger starts bearing fruits instantly.
It’s not always a necessity to replace the hardware. If its ‘Cloud ready’ you can simply introduce a form of Cloud to keep costs down. This means gaining all the benefits of Cloud and making those new locations an integrated part of your footprint.
Consolidation and acquisitions are not something that companies have to worry about every day, but when it is a worry, it can amount to a lot of stress.
The benefits of Cloud Telephony when it comes to consolidation include:
If your estate is large or complex, making it hard to warrant an immediate switchover, you can take a staged approach. You are able to start with a cloud-based system at one location as part of a larger hybrid Cloud communications system and move other locations over as their on-premises PBX systems reach end-of-life. This is a clever phased approach to phone system migration that’s gaining more steam among businesses that don’t want to rip-and-replace all at once.
Still, some IT managers feel safer maintaining hardware that’s nearby, with the belief that the system may be pretty robust. It’s easy to run down the hall to a server closet if something goes wrong, right? But on-premises PBX systems are also dependent on forces outside a company’s control, an electrical grid outage, an Internet outage, a fire, burglary or severe flooding. Things like dual-powered cooling equipment, multiple independent distribution paths or fault-tolerant site infrastructure all will greatly reduce your exposure and increase resiliency, in short your phone system should stand up to a myriad of potential threats.
For the companies that don’t currently have this on site, Cloud telephony delivers a level of reliability and redundancy that’s difficult and expensive to achieve at facility level with an on-premise PBX. With a Cloud phone system, that reliability is built in. However you decide to approach the issue of consolidation, one thing is clear, hosted communication is rapidly becoming the norm for businesses regardless of size, vertical or site complexity and shows no sign of slowing down.
If you have any questions about your current telephony system please contact our Cloud Telephony Specialists for more information on how we can help take your telephony system into the Cloud.