Cloud-based unified communications changing IT landscape

    Cloud computing and unified communications are considered two of the most important technologies available for companies looking for solutions to lower IT costs, operate more efficiently and boost employee productivity. But paired together, cloud-based UC offers organizations even more possibilities, according to SYS-CON Media's Karil Reibold.

    More businesses are allowing employee-owned devices like smartphones and tablets into the office and, paired with cloud-based unified communications, companies can achieve even more agility, according to the writer.


    "Cloud-based unified communications combined with versatile soft phone applications enable IT to deliver a uniform experience to all users regardless of the device they use," Reibold explained. "Choose a solution that offers integrated, extensive and flexible soft phone features."


    Cloud-based unified communications also helps organizations scale their operations more effectively. These technologies are especially ideal for growing businesses that can leverage an IT infrastructure that can be managed without on-site workers, Reibold added.


    "As businesses grow, needs change," Reibold wrote. "Cloud-based solutions eliminate the problem of hardware obsolescence and costly software licensing and lifecycle management. Make sure that your partner regularly updates their solutions, and as new features become available they can be deployed on a per-user basis or to the entire company so that you can take advantage of them."


    Cloud, unified communications deliver value


    Some businesses have not adopted cloud computing or unified communications because they fear they will not receive an ideal return on investment. However, IT staffing firm TEKsystems and the Loyalty Research Group polled more than 6,100 IT professionals to determine the effectiveness of several technologies, including the cloud and UC deployments, and determined that this view is inaccurate.


    The survey found that 55 percent of participants believe the cloud's ROI can be accomplished in less than one year, while 50 percent of respondents answered similarly regarding unified communications.


    Nearly 60 percent of IT professionals said unified communications' ROI is just under $2 million, compared to 57 percent who gave the cloud this distinction. In terms of all technologies included in the survey, 28 percent of respondents said they believe these options generate ROI between $2 million and $10 million, while 8 percent said the value is $10 million to $50 million. Another 7 percent expect total ROI of more than $50 million.