Cloud Technology – Can it really help your business grow?
Bringing Your Business Together with Cloud Communications
It’s always been important for businesses to have clear and robust lines of communication, but with the geographic barriers between markets breaking down and customers expecting even greater transparency from the companies they patronise, this need has becoming even more pressing.
This pressure has led to many businesses making reactive, low-quality investments in numerous siloed systems in order to cover their communication needs. These organisations will often have entirely discrete phone, video conferencing, call recording, fax and screensharing utilities. The problem with this is the high cost of managing a multitude of applications, the cost of licenses and the learning required in order to use each application effectively. This can often deter teams from making the most use of these costly communication tools.
Building a 21st century organisation
To avoid paying for a suite of applications that no one uses, many businesses are looking instead for a single, cloud unified communications platform for all their needs.
Many businesses are choosing cloud communications for the same reason that they’re choosing cloud storage and managed IT services – they no longer need to purchase and manage expensive and short life hardware and they can scale up or down as needed.
Most cloud communications software’s offer a greater deal of flexibility in how and where they are installed and utilised, with many compatible with a wide variety of fixed and mobile devices. This customisability empowers organisations to work the way they work best, rather than the way their systems work best. Notably, they enable and empower remote workers to feel like full members of the team, eliminating many of the anxieties decision-makers have about allowing more flexible working arrangements. Having these arrangements is going to become increasingly critical as millennials – 92 per cent of whom desire the ability to work from home – become increasingly senior in the workforce and more desirable to recruiters.
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Reducing your financial burden
Cloud communications allow businesses to reduce the financial cost of maintaining a state-of-the-art communications system in two ways: Firstly, businesses no longer have to find the money to fund the significant upfront expense involved in building and installing an on-premise communications network. Rather than the traditional long tail model wherein businesses invest heavily in a new technology and see their money returned to them as revenue over time, with cloud communications CAPEX is lessened significantly with start-up costs minimised. Costs are instead distributed more evenly as OPEX across the life-cycle of the technology, removing the initial high price tag that acts as a barrier to most small and medium businesses looking for a better solution.
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Secondly, it eliminates the need for separate and discrete communication services. Businesses no longer need to take out multiple subscriptions to Skype for Business for video conferencing, their preferred VoIP provider for phone access, a managed IT service for fax and so on. Cloud communications bundle these services together, giving your finance department a single expense to focus on each month and users a single application with which to learn and manage.
Keeping your customers closer
Most importantly, a cloud communications platform allows you to make the strong and lasting connections with your consumers. Brand accessibility is becoming increasingly recognised as one of the key metrics by which companies are measured by the market. Some industry commentators have made it a core part of their assessment of a brand’s future viability, with Brad VanAuken of Branding Strategy Insider declaring ‘No accessibility. No future.’
For consumers, a 24-hour turnaround from an email enquiry is being shunned in favour of the 60-minute-or-less response from a message to a company’s Facebook page, or a live response via web chat.
The ability to individually tailor your response to each enquiry is vital for businesses looking to expand their customer base.