Moving To Cloud UC Requires Strategy And Planning

    Few technologies have been as innovative for enterprises as the cloud. Cloud assets help to redefine systems previously thought by many to already be at their most logical conclusions. In the communications sphere, this has meant enabling freedom among employees to work from wherever they want -- provided that there is an Internet connection.

    This has led to an incredible increase in the demand for hosted solutions. More companies are growing out of their legacy systems every day. Rather than make another large investment on a carbon--copy replacement, organizations are discovering greater levels of success through hosting their communications network off--site and in the cloud.

    "The cloud has paved the way for all sorts of exciting communications technologies and is the reason unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) has taken off," wrote TMCnet contributor Laura Stotler. "The market for UCaaS is continuing to gain traction and vertical industries like healthcare, education and contact centers are helping to fuel that growth."

    But while cloud communications have proven to streamline workflows and simplify daily tasks, implementing new tools requires a great deal of planning and strategizing. Modern telecom upgrades are not about just swapping out identical systems -- they are about fostering innovation. Employees in today's enterprise climate must be equipped with assets that will permit them to work from anywhere, be it in the office, on the road or from their kitchen tables. Collaboration is changing in significant ways, and organizations that have not begun a transition toward hosted communications must do so as soon as possible.

    The Magic Of Hosted UC

    At its core, hosted communications are all about enabling flexibility. Modern consumer technology has changed the way that people view devices, data and services. Those who use moden endpoints like smartphones and tablets expect instant gratification -- as long as they are connected to the Internet in some way. Local storage and on--premises infrastructure is no longer as viable as it once was when you are able to access anything -- regardless of what machine is in use or where it is being leveraged -- via the cloud.

    This kind of freedom is helping professionals to complete tasks on their own terms. Rather than come into the office every day, many employees are finding that it makes the most sense to fulfill a good deal of their obligations remotely. This helps to cut down on time spent commuting while also providing a greater balance between personal and professional life.

    But just providing these advantages through on--site infrastructure may be difficult and costly. This is so much so the case that those companies that believe in--house solutions are the only way may think that they cannot enable cloud communications for their workers. This could not be further from the case, however, as hosted solutions are rapidly becoming the standard by which all UC systems are judged.

    The Benefits Of The Hosted Cloud

    The thing about cloud deployments, however, is that they are not an easy undertaking more often than not. This is ironic given how significantly they are supposed to simplify communications and collaboration. But this should not serve as a deterrent from investing in cloud solutions. Rather, organizations should be looking at hosted services in order to remove historic boundaries on their communications.

    Because the cloud can require a significant amount of planning and strategizing, it is actually advisable to seek assistance from a cloud provider with years of experience. Having experts on hand that can walk a client company through the entire process and speak from experience can help to dramatically simplify the initial rollout process and allow for a smooth transition.

    According to Network World contributor David Danto, good technology is worthless without any sort of plan on how to implement it -- especially unified communications. Part of this may come from selection a solution that has been chosen without input from or consideration for the employees that will be leveraging it.

    "Many technology managers will look at the available options and then select what they believe to be the best product or suite to meet the needs of their 'typical user,'" Danto wrote. "Unfortunately, the concept of a typical user is a myth. Most organizations have multiple types of users, each with different needs. Development of a user segmentation plan – with input from the actual users – is an absolutely essential first step to understanding what solution or combination of solutions will meet those discovered needs."

    Seeking out hosted communications also removes a significant amount of financial burden off the shoulders of enterprises. Costs associated with procuring, installing and maintaining new infrastructures are the responsibility of the host, meaning that in--house IT staffers will have more time and funding for projects that also have mission--critical bearing to them. This is one of the many ways in which cloud UC can help to improve daily operations, and one that can go overlooked if on--site deployments are selected without question.

    Hosted Services See Significant Market Growth

    As more companies see their competitors experience the benefits of hosted services, they are likely to make investments of their own in order to keep up. A recent report from MarketsandMarkets found that the market for hosted contact centers alone is expected to reach $10.9 billion soon. This figure only represents a fraction of what people are leveraging cloud UC for, and the actual market value for these assets in general is likely to be much greater.

    This figure should signify to businesses that they must make telecom upgrades very soon if they have not already. Each passing day widens the gap between cloud UC and legacy landlines alone, and businesses must have a sense of urgency regarding getting initiatives underway. But with this in mind, cloud communication implementation is not a process that can be rushed through. It takes planning and guidance to successfully launch a new network of this kind. As such, more companies are opting for hosted providers to assist them in empowering their staffs. Cloud unified communications are continually moving toward the status quo, but they can only be achieved with help from providers.