Best-path-to-the-Cloud: What French Consulting firms say about telephony in the Cloud – Part 7: Quenaya
From Telephones to Collaboration in the Cloud: fully revealing the skills and assets of companies by exchange and communication
The company telecoms experience in the Cloud era
Each technological transition creates an opportunity for transformation. Today it is worth taking advantage of the transition triggered by the Cloud to entirely rethink how we use and adopt communication and exchange systems in companies. Fixed telephones have been an integral part of all employees’ tools for several decades - they are indicators of the existing internal and external communication processes within companies that were often set up when the company first began operation.
However, faced with a wave of new digital communication tools driven by the consumer space, the high adoption of smartphones among young people and the rise of free software-based telephone services such as Skype, the office telephone has to fight to get its place back, adapt and demonstrate that it is compatible with digital integration. It is time for organisations to rediscover how to use the good old landline in the office.
The fixed telephone continues to be an effective communication tool for business exchange because it generates social links with coworkers, customers and suppliers. However, it is nonetheless true that the landline is no longer seen as an end in itself. It is no longer simply an isolated element, but is integrated into a coherent whole of ‘unified communications’, or more broadly ‘collaboration’. This integrated whole must tie together a series of communication modes that go beyond simple phone use:
- Mobility (within company premises and outside of the company) that allows interactivity between the fixed office phone and the personal mobile phone
- Convergence between voice, video and mobile communications
- Integration with information systems (directory, rules of control and oversight, security, messaging, work station, tablet, Web 2.0 Intranet with phone plug-in)
- Applications led communications and tools for specific business units and needs e.g. telesales units or support centers
- Measurement and control with performance charts and business indicators for inbound and outbound communication streams.
Why do we need company telephone services in the Cloud?
Today a telephone service can be considered as a digital commodity that can be offered ‘as a service’ from a platform in the Cloud, with well defined user profiles according to the type of use (Basic, Standard, Premium, VIP etc.). The outsourcing of telephony services via a central switchboard is not new, but today the user experience must be rich, unified, multi-device and offer a full range of communication applications.
One major advantage of the Cloud model lies in its use/cost ratio in that can support most types of end point and use, is replicable and can be scaled to suit the needs of each business.
From Telephones to Collaboration in the Cloud
The Collaboration as a Service (CaaS) model is a strong business accelerator that is set to open up a new age of innovation and exchange in companies (whether they are ready or not!). Innovation and exchange within companies are facilitated by flexible uses, the optimisation of the sharing of ideas, and the simplicity of collaborative tools that engage all coworkers in innovation rather than just an elite segment.
Enabling employees to unveil their skills, energy and talent through communication and exchange with coworkers, partners and customers
The Cloud creates new possibilities for communication. Cloud-based collaboration certainly provides the most functional level for employees, regardless of location or job function, for tasks including simple telephone calls, unified and instant messaging, presence control, multi-media contact centers, web conferencing, mobile and video communications.
We are entering a post-PC era with the arrival of new devices and multi-platform and multi-system work stations (PC, Mac, or virtual workstation in the Cloud). Personal smart phones and tablets are supplementing or replacing company mobile phones and are extending the functional capabilities or remote and mobile of employees.
These new features and functions can be complex for certain companies can be quite complex and the ‘as a service’ model allows companies to choose the functional profile that is best suited to their user communities and offers flexibility to match changes in the users and activities within the organisation.
A billing model that reduces costs
The pay-as-you-go billing model reduces (and may even eliminate) capital expenditures for investment (CAPEX) and therefore transforms the classic purchase model into a model that’s based on an operating budget (OPEX).
New investment can instead be devoted to developing critical and strategic business applications.
The monthly management of Cloud-based communications provides financial predictability for business units. In addition, information technology divisions can play their role in planning in-house supply, encouraging digital experiments via cooperation portals, driving partnership with vendors to facilitate digital services as well as providing advice, deployment services, training and change management.
The measured value of the Cloud-based collaboration model
The value of Cloud-based collaboration would be greatly diminished if it resulted in standardisation and uniformity and restricted employee uses to the least common denominator. Fortunately however, this model recognises the value and individuality of each company and provides tools for measuring and displaying productivity gains in several key areas:
Augmenting the commercial value of the company
Up until now the tried and tested technologies of customer contact and call centers were reserved for large companies with a high volume of interactive voice services. Today, the advanced features of interactive call servers measure the quality of response to customers and the options available for on-demand contact centers allow a company to transform a community of users into contact center workers. Imagine the impact of this tool for a marketing campaign to launch a new product with support from all employees or a perfectly synchronised telephone reminder to all customers regarding an event in the life of the company or better coordinated and therefore more effective crisis management.
Boosting innovation and the concept of idea sharing
As companies must constantly improve their bottom line, often with lower resources, they have to innovate more effectively, create more new products, design or rework processes to be more efficient and also to recruit the most talented, creative and skilled staff possible. Web conferences can be used to rapidly train sales staff on new products and processes.
Push the borders of your company
With Cloud-based solutions you can take advantage of federating options such as directories or presence information and invite customers and partners to share their experience via audio conferences or video webinars (that can be recorded and played back via a simple Internet connection).
Cloud-based telephone services and collaboration are a solid foundation for the future and will drive innovation and collaboration. Even if the two models of the purchase of on-site solutions and SaaS consumption still coexist, the leaders in collaborative solutions will continue to invest much more in the Cloud because it provides future-proofing, quicker user adoption, lower operational risk, and greater satisfaction for users and customers. The Cloud is therefore a strong foundation for agility and innovation as well as sharing and information exchange.
Collaboration in the Cloud contributes to the transformation and optimisation of communications and exchange systems within companies and offers a unified, simple, practical and effective experience that will enable them to fully realise the assets of their people and processes in order to better serve their customers. That, after all, is one of the fundamental values of the business world.