The shift of communications technology from premises-based systems to cloud services is gaining momentum. Because the shift to cloud is further along in other software categories (e.g., storage, email, analytics, CRM, ERP), companies have grown comfortable moving technology services to the cloud. Communications, until now, has lagged behind other categories in the shift to the cloud, but it is gaining momentum and moving faster toward the cloud services model.
The Shift to the Cloud
These two trends — the shift from standalone, siloed communication environments to embedded communications and the shift from on-premise communications systems to cloud-based services — are big market drivers today, and the pace of those shifts are accelerating. The good news it that when companies move their communications to the cloud, they have a few great options to choose from.
The first choice is to replace their existing PBX or contact center technology with similar solutions in the cloud. This replicates their calling experience for employees and customers and provides the least amount of disruption to the organization. Users will have the same capabilities they expect, like making and receiving calls on a traditional handset, voicemail, multi-party conference calling, and so on. And in many cases, there will be added capabilities and greater usability.
The second option is to evaluate purpose-built software solutions for a given industry or function, which have real-time communications pre-integrated into the workflows. These communication-native business process applications allow the dental receptionist to better schedule patients, the salesperson to handle communications within their CRM, or the claims processing unit to automate claim status SMS 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 to their offerings.
The third option is to build your own, custom solution in the cloud leveraging a Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) platform. These 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 own call flows and business logic. With APIs, you can tailor the system to meet your specific needs.
Transitioning to the cloud is an opportunity to focus enterprise IT resources on different systems, to leverage the tremendous marketplace of powerful solutions built with your specific needs in mind, or to simply avoid operating communications infrastructure while maintaining a bespoke customer experience. Finding your right path will be the product of identifying where your company differentiates in the customer experience, performing thorough research on your available options, and working closely with your users to ensure they are ready to adopt the chosen solution. 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.
Interested in talking through your unique communications solution with our cloud communications expert? Drop us a note. Still not sure cloud communications is right for you? Check out our co-Founder and Chief Product Officer Sean Hsieh’s recent webinar on the benefits of cloud communications for SaaS-based companies.