Making the Case for Unified Communications in the Cloud

    Over the last several years, more businesses have been adopting cloud applications, leaving no doubt that we’re riding a cloud-computing wave. To give just one example, today 40 percent of all Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems globally are cloud-based.

    Curiously, many of the same companies who put their CRMs in the cloud may be uncertain about whether deploying a cloud-based phone system makes sense. In most cases, it does. The reason: A cloud-based unified communications (UC) system provides an organization with a number of advantages – from better collaboration among team members to richer business intelligence.

    But while companies of any size can benefit from UC in the cloud, the decision to move the phone system must make strategic sense.

    How do you determine whether it’s the right move for you? Evaluate your needs against these five criteria.

    1.     Does it support your business objectives? If phones are critical to your business operations, then deploying unified communications in the cloud can provide you with a competitive edge. Among other things, it will enhance team collaboration, enable a mobile workforce and facilitate the sharing of data.

    2.     Is your CRM already (or will it be) in the cloud? UC increases the bottom line by enabling access to customer intelligence right as it’s needed. That improves the customer experience, because employees always have the data they need to solve problems immediately, with fewer transfers of calls.

    3.     Where do your employees work? Since a cloud-based phone system like ShoreTel Connect CLOUD allows employees to access company information anytime, anywhere, employees can move seamlessly from desk phone to car phone to video call, all without missing a beat.

    4.     What are the goals of your IT team? Companies with limited technical resources can keep them working on projects that move the business forward – and avoid distracting them with day-to-day phone system management issues.

    5.     How well can you manage rapid changes in technology? Technical updates and changes can be frequent, but necessary. With unified communications in the cloud, the IT team doesn’t need to be involved in making sure your system is up-to-date. The vendor manages scalability and support, and you can rest assured that your company is always running on state-of-the-art technology.

    According to the Cloud Era Institute, one of the cloud’s major benefits is that companies using it “spend less time on infrastructure and more time on customer-centric activities.” Indeed, a survey by Rackspace Hosting supported this idea: It found that 88% of businesses saved money from using the cloud, and 56% said it boosted their profit.

    For customer-centric businesses with mobile workforces, unified communications in the cloud makes good strategic – and financial – sense.

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