The move to cloud PBX is ongoing


    Enterprises are fed up with legacy phone systems and, as a result, are migrating communications platforms to the cloud.

    The somewhat recent emergence of mobile and cloud computing has forever changed how decision-makers look at their business phone systems. In the past, enterprises were often content to use any telecommunications platform that could support a connection between two parties. As the corporate and consumer landscapes evolved, however, individuals around the world began to demand more, distancing themselves from the capabilities provided through traditional phone systems.

    This chasm inevitably changed the enterprise executive's perspective on the office phone system. In many cases, organizations looking to implement a mobile strategy had no way to support remote connectivity or access to mobile users. This problem snowballed until businesses recognized the need for change. This new view on communications turned many companies to the cloud, as hosted services are much more flexible, scalable and adaptable.

    A recent study by a major cloud PBX provider highlighted the growing dissatisfaction with the traditional phone system, noting that the proliferation of bring your own device (BYOD) and cloud-enabled applications in the workplace has made it more difficult to support operations with a legacy telecom platform. In fact, approximately 70 percent of enterprise IT directors said their traditional on-premise phone systems are lacking, causing operations to suffer and costs to skyrocket.

    The ongoing need to move to the cloud

    For many businesses, implementing a hosted PBX system in a traditional solution's place will result in significant improvements to the bottom line. The survey revealed there were several critical reasons to make this transition, as 22 percent of companies said legacy services simply could not keep up with the needs of the growing remote workforce. As teleworking and BYOD programs become more common in the business world, decision-makers need to be confident in their ability to provide instantaneous access to the network for individuals using next-generation platforms, such as smartphones and tablets.

    The study also found that 23 percent of decision-makers found old phone systems hard to manage and deploy. This is a problem because most executives already have enough on their plate without having to worry about maintaining a basic necessity like voice collaboration. Meanwhile, 33 percent of respondents said traditional phone systems were simply too expensive to maintain. In today's economy, keeping expensive and unnecessary technologies in play can have a significant long-term impact on the bottom line, potentially impairing organizations to expand and create profit.

    For these reasons, among others, enterprise decision-makers are making the switch to cloud-based phone systems.

    "The old-guard on-premise PBX was designed for the 1980s - an era when all employees came into the office, used desktops - not laptops - and didn't own or carry mobile devices. The way we work and communicate has changed profoundly since then, and the on-premise PBX can't keep technological pace with today's new mobility-centric business needs," telecommunications expert Curtis Peterson said.

    Making the cloud transition

    There are numerous reasons why organizations should make the switch to a cloud-based phone system. According to the survey, the majority of respondents said the ability to leverage mobile applications that turn smartphones into endpoints is the most appreciated advantage. Another 52 percent of respondents said the simple-to-use interface was beneficial, while the same percentage appreciated the power to easily expand the phone system as the company grows in size and stature.

    A separate report by a major hosted PBX provider highlighted the ongoing transition to cloud-based phone systems, noting that companies of all sizes are making the switch. In fact, the number of hosted PBX users is forecast to double by 2016.

    "More small, medium and large business customers are adapting to the new technology and features offered by hosted PBX resellers in order to cut back on costs. It is not news that businesses are looking for ways to reduce expenses and save time, but the idea that they are turning to outsourcing their communications systems points to a promising future for the telephony trade," communications expert Chris Griffith said.

    As the cloud landscape matures and evolves, decision-makers need to consider embracing the technology for communication purposes, as doing so can improve operations, reduce costs and potentially give organizations a competitive advantage over rival firms still using outdated phone services. The benefits of the hosted PBX system far outweigh any potential risks associated with embracing the cloud for the first time. In many cases, executives can work with trusted providers to develop a well-rounded adoption strategy that mitigates challenges along the path to innovation.

    In the coming years, the cloud-based phone system has the potential to become the normal way organizations communicate, especially as the mobile environment continues to pick up momentum and ultimately change how organizations view collaboration. By planning ahead and considering their specific needs, enterprise decision-makers can implement the hosted PBX solutions that best align with their unique long-term objectives.