Taking Communications to the Cloud

The global cloud communications market alone is forecasted to reach $4.45 billion by 2021, driven by the BYOD movement and the increasing cost-effectiveness of cloud-based solutions. Given this, many enterprise decision makers are turning to cloud-based service providers over legacy carriers.

The transition to cloud-based communications has uncovered two common trends: 1) the shift from standalone communications to embedded communications, and 2) the shift from on-premises systems to cloud-based services. These market drivers are accelerating at a rapid pace. The good news it that when companies move their communications to the cloud, they have a few great options to consider.

  • To Replace or Not to Replace? The first option is to replace their existing PBX or contact center technologies with similar solutions in the cloud. This replicates the calling experience for employees and customers while creating the least amount of disruption to the organization. Users will have access to the same capabilities, like making and receiving calls on a traditional handset, voicemail, multi-party conference calling, and so on. In many cases, they'll gain added capabilities and greater usability.

  • Purpose-Built Might Be Right for You. The second option is to evaluate purpose-built software solutions for a given industry or function that have real-time communications pre-integrated into the workflows. These communication-native business process applications allow dental receptionists to optimize patient scheduling, salespeople to handle communications within their CRM, or claims processing units to automate claim status notifications. In these cases, communications is no longer a standalone application, but an integrated capability within a critical and valuable software solution. There are more and more options in this category as software developers recognize the power of integrated real-time communications.
  • Build a Customized Solution. The third option is to build your own custom solution in the cloud leveraging a communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) platform. CPaaS solutions allow you to avoid operating critical communications infrastructure while maintaining control over the customer experience. It's still a cloud model -- no investment in infrastructure and technology, and no need to worry about upgrades and enhancements on the hardware side. But you're using APIs to build the communications applications exactly the way you want to create your call flows and business logic. With APIs, you can tailor the system to meet your specific needs.

What's Next?

Transitioning to the cloud is an opportunity to focus enterprise IT resources on different systems, leverage the marketplace of powerful solutions built with your specific needs in mind, or simply avoid operating communications infrastructure while maintaining a bespoke customer experience. Customers, external and internal, expect instantaneous and seamless voice and text services from the start -- anything less can negatively affect the company's reputation, productivity, and customer loyalty.

For more information about how to move your communications to the cloud, check out IDC's latest report, "The Value of Embedded Communications in the Cloud."