Cloud Technology is everywhere; it is growing in capacity and reach. Cloud-based Unified Communications (UC) services are beginning to replace in-house PBX systems across many industries. In some cases, businesses will link to external cloud-based offices so that they can maintain their onsite systems; this is called “Hybrid Communication.”
But is cloud-based technology right for your business? The following three questions will help you decide what is right for your company.
1. Do You Predict Scalable Growth in Your Businesses Future?
Will your employee workforce be undergoing either an increase or decrease (perhaps due to seasonal or contract work, or an industry recession)? Do you sense a merger or an upcoming acquisition? Are you considering testing the waters of new, exciting markets? Will you have employees working remotely, at home or oversees, perhaps?
If so, cloud-based technology might be for you. UC services (also “UCaaS”) are flexible and adaptive, able to cater to a growing company’s changing communication needs. UCaas offers the option to add or remove services, depending on the needs of your changing business. Adjustments can be made with small costs and relative ease. Using a single interface for your whole company will allow for adaptation in the event of an acquisition or merger. You can allocate operating expenses for cloud technology maintenance, therefore capital investments and IT power can be focuses elsewhere.
TIPS: Be sure to look for a UC service provider who has worked with companies in your industry before with a good rate of success. Make sure your UC service provider has a record of being able to accommodate similar growth patterns that your company may be expecting. Inquire as to whether they support a hybrid communications arrangement. Feel free to ask your potential UC service provider about their best practises and success stories to see if they are a good fit.
2. What Are Your Business’s Technology Integration Needs?
Do you use telephones, conference calls, fax, IM, and video? Do you need a UC service that integrates with pre-existing systems like CRM or ERP? Do you need a system that integrates voice applications with newer, dynamic technologies?
As an emerging industry, “big data” as well as cloud-based technologies can work to make data more accessible for your company, its employees, and their work. Data takes on new forms when newer apps meets “legacy” technology like telephony systems. The result is new methods to gauge employee productivity levels, customer needs, and effectiveness of business performance.
TIPS: The UC system chosen by your company should be able to adapt to and integrate smartphones, wireless environments, tablets, and other devices. The UC service provider you choose should be familiar with the apps used by your company and their unique requirements and specifications. Does the UC provider offer hybrid configurations? Open APIs? What about support for BYOD and WebRTC? Make sure to ask these questions (if relevant to your business’s needs) before signing on with a new vendor.
3. What Kind of Security Needs Does Your Business Have?
Any systems can potentially be vulnerable to hacking if not protected properly, including VoIP and UCaaS. Security should be a top priority for any UCaaS, so don’t be afraid to push to learn your potential UC service provider’s security practises and track record. Can the UCaaS service encrypt VoIP traffic? How effectively and with how much ease or difficulty (this can often be a challenging task)? What is the cost? As a company, you need to go into negotiations with a potential UCaaS knowing what risk level you are comfortable with.
Look into whether your potential UCaaS provider leases space in external data centers (run by another company or group) or if they have their own data centers. The farther removed the data center is, the harder it is to monitor how your data is being managed, where your data is, and how issues are resolved (or not).
TIPS: Ask for a statement of security track record from potential UC service providers? A question you can ask is: “What percentage of their churn rate comes from security breaches?” If the vendor responds that they don’t lose business from security breaches, you are golden! Don’t forget to ask whether the provider is able and willing to assist with VoIP security practises with your company; have your employees involved in the process. Security starts from the home front.
If approached with thought and consideration, cloud-based technology can increase security, flexibility, and diversity of any business practises. Algo Communication Products can help you upgrade your systems efficiently and effectively, give us a call to speak with one of our trained specialists today.