The Real Promise of Cloud Communications

    During a keynote address in January, our CEO Rich McBee predicted that the cloud would change everything in business communications. At face value, that doesn't feel like much of a stretch given how the cloud has already transformed much of the IT environment. CRM, ERP, BI and analytics are all predominantly cloud solutions today. But a closer look at just how the cloud can improve business communications shows the prediction to be quite the understatement.

    Let’s start with the obvious benefits. Many companies migrate to the cloud to reduce capital expenditures and reduce ongoing maintenance costs. In fact, with hosted software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery, companies regularly get new features and updates as they are available. This essentially breaks the upgrade cycle and allows many companies to refocus their support staff from systems maintenance to higher priority tasks centered on the business’s core competencies.

    No surprises so far, as many companies embrace the cloud as a means for software delivery. Where it gets interesting is when companies leverage the cloud for integration of disparate applications. Whereas on-premise systems are challenging to integrate into the back office, software-based cloud applications are much easier. And this allows IT departments to get creative to derive value from their solutions.

    While we are on the topic, business communications has been largely viewed as a separate ‘step child’ of IT by many organizations with little to no integration between the two. By having all resources on the cloud, it’s easier to understand how they can start to leverage each other.

    Consider all of the valuable customer data that comes through the communication system at any given company. This is direct customer contact with straightforward, rich feedback. Now imagine applying business analytics to that customer feedback to understand their needs and visualize trends. Analytics has the ability to help a company understand how to improve call completion rates and improve the overall customer experience. By mining the business communication ‘data,’ companies can identify when they typically lose a customer and which best practices build loyalty. They can even drill down to understand which phrases turn customers off and which ones enhance the experience.

    Many companies are paying for data sources as part of their big data strategies, yet they are throwing away or ignoring highly valuable information coming right through the front door. And applying analytics is just the tip of the iceberg. Cloud communications could integrate with many enterprise systems, even providing real-time data for supply chain management, for example. And if the past few decades are any indication, we’ll likely see some unusual mash-ups that could lead to new levels of productivity and profitably for companies. And that is the real promise of cloud communications—extending far beyond the benefits of initial delivery.

    Mitel recently surpassed 1 million cloud communications subscriptions and seats, making it the largest provider worldwide. Find out more in the MiCloud section of our website. And you can still discover what the experts think the future of business communications will look like in 2025 in this exclusive e-book from Mitel.