2016 is witnessing a major shift to cloud-based unified communications solutions. Cloud offers enterprise-level solutions to any size organization or business, reducing the barriers of entry – cost, IT staff, infrastructure footprint – to the latest advances in technology. Cloud moves communications from a phone-centric business model to one that encompasses a multitude of devices and methods for being connected.
A recent article in NEC Today spoke of predicted trends by technology experts across all fields. A common theme is investment in cloud technologies and infrastructure. Four areas in communications marked by a significant growth rate are:
- Emphasis on Collaboration
- Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)
- Cloud Contact Center
- Hybrid becoming the platform of choice
Cloud-based collaboration is rapidly becoming a key to achieving an integrated workforce experience. A decreased dependence on location and reliance on email is breaking down silos within organizations. Mobility – working anywhere, at any time, while maintaining real-time communications – is transforming the work landscape. Devices that provide collaborative communications capabilities are everywhere, at a wide range of prices, allowing virtually anyone access to this game-changing technology.
Smart companies and organizations are using collaboration technology, both internally and externally, to communicate and work more effectively and efficiently; improving productivity on individual, group and business-wide levels. The goal of collaborative technologies is to remove barriers of time and distance – no matter if the people are across the building or across the world.
Until recently, enterprise-class features like conferencing and collaboration, contact centers, and even unified messaging were most typically found only in the enterprise and large organizations. Cloud-based communications technologies changed that, making unified communications features available to even the smallest business and startup with a need for these services. Now, we’re seeing the market come full circle, with enterprise and large organizations moving toward cloud communications solutions for the long-term cost savings, reduced risk of infrastructure investment, flexibility, and business agility.
Cloud Contact Center
Press releases by companies introducing their cloud contact center offering are frequent these days. Why this rapid development cycle? Simply because a cloud-based solution offers the latest contact center capabilities, flexibility, and customized workflows, at a fraction of the cost of a traditional contact center. In today’s marketplace, customer service and customer loyalty are proving to be major differentiators between business success and failure. With competition easily available for most, if not all, products and services, staying connected with your customers is a necessity.
A hybrid deployment for a communications is rapidly becoming the most common choice for enterprise, government agencies, and other large organizations. A hybrid model provides a seamless integration of existing traditional on-premises phone services with the latest cloud features – mobility, unified messaging, presence, conferencing, even a cloud PBX. Hybrid deployments allow companies to maximize their existing infrastructure investments while adopting the latest features and services. Hybrid can also provide a comprehensive migration path to the cloud, at a pace optimized for the organization, business or enterprise.
User Experience – the Secret Sauce for Successful Technologies
The increasing quality of the user experience is another driver of growth for communications technologies. While most people have adopted smart phones with advanced capabilities, contracting for similar business communications services and features doesn’t mean they will be put to use by your working staff.
Cloud providers are realizing that adoption rates of unified communications features can be correlated to an easy-to-use, familiar and consistent user experience. As seen all too frequently in software development, the user interface in new technologies can be an afterthought. To ensure a successful launch of a new communications service for your organization or business, make certain your provider hasn’t overlooked the obvious.