Parents with kids in K-12 want more from schools when it comes to communications. A recent report from Blackboard and Project Tomorrow found these families expect information to be delivered to them. But At the same time, they don’t want to be inundated with unnecessary messages. 

Combine these expectations with students’ use of mobile devices and a faculty that struggles to find the time to communicate, and schools are faced with a tremendous communications challenge.

It’s not surprising, then, that many K-12 schools are making the move to cloud communications. In fact, the global cloud computing market in education is expected to grow at a rate of more than 26 percent per year until 2021. 

However, moving toward cloud communications doesn’t mean facilities have to rip out existing systems all at once. Many K-12 schools are on tight budgets, without enough money to replace an old system in its entirety. Fortunately, schools can leverage existing infrastructure while still delivering the innovation and latest technologies offered by cloud communications. 

In fact, the case for migrating communications to the cloud has never been greater. Consider the following benefits the cloud offers K-12 schools, and how taking advantage of them isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition.

Cloud communications raises the bar

Improved safety: With cloud communications, administrators can proactively share information during an emergency. Enhanced 911 (E-911) service provides on-site notification and dispatch to facilitate the immediate response of trained on-site personnel, in compliance with E-911 legislation.

Mass notification: Parents remain updated with the latest information on school events, changes to schedules and other important information. Administrators have the flexibility to communicate with parents via SMS, email or voice, so families can be contacted by their preferred channel.

Collaboration: Integration with G Suite, Learning Management Systems, collaboration tools and SMS apps enables teachers to create a more collaborative learning environment. Communication can continue in real-time via video and chat so questions are always answered. Homework hotlines and remote tutoring extend the classroom into the home.

Lower total cost of ownership (TCO): Antiquated phone systems don’t offer now-standard features like mass notification and mobile support. Schools often have to bolt on solutions piecemeal to deliver the functionality they need. On top of that, older systems can end up costing more money to maintain. A cloud communications solution is simple to install and comes with lower maintenance costs that can save schools up to $70,000 per year. The ability to easily and quickly scale your system lowers costs during the summer months when facilities are typically closed.

Schools require a greater level of dependability from their communications systems. Learn more about how to achieve this with our infographic. >

How to add cloud services to existing infrastructure

If your school isn’t ready to replace your existing infrastructure all at once, you can still reap the benefits of cloud communications.

VoIP technology means your school’s voice calls, as well as video and data, are transmitted over the internet instead of the publicly switched telephone network (PSTN). VoIP eliminates the need for a separate voice network. IP PBX systems use the internet to make calls, thus reducing phone bills. New means of communication, like video conferencing, are more affordable and can be provided within budget.

A hybrid solution gives you the cloud’s features and cost-savings while maintaining some on-site control. This is a great way to slowly migrate to a complete cloud solution. 

A flexible system architecture allows schools to maximize current on-site infrastructure while delivering modern capabilities required to meet parent, student and teacher expectations. Start with the pieces you need now, and easily add more when you’re ready to expand. Get the most out of your existing systems and slowly replace them over time.

Easily connect data in legacy systems to cloud-based systems. As you continue to migrate to the cloud, students and faculty can be confident they’ll have seamless, 24/7 access to all data. 

A secure connection between the cloud and your on-site network keeps data secure and accessible at all times. 

Cloud communications delivers simplicity with functionality. K-12 schools need this type of centralized, integrated and unified approach to provide an effective, robust communications solution to faculty, students and parents. A slow migration to the cloud enables schools to maximize the ROI on existing infrastructure and deliver a system with modern features at the same time. 

As existing systems continue to depreciate and become too expensive or difficult to replace, the migration process can proceed at a pace that works for your budget.

Moving to the cloud can seem intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Check out how to move to the cloud in 5 easy steps. >

Digital transformation has become a top initiative for business and IT leaders. In today’s business world, sustainable market leadership is no longer based solely on which company has the best products or even the best people. Instead, organizations that are agile and can quickly adapt to rapidly evolving market trends will become market leaders.

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