Business agility: It’s a fundamental characteristic of successful companies. They seize opportunities and quickly pivot to new product lines and markets. But it doesn’t just happen. Today, agility requires digital transformation, which is why IT teams must be forward-looking, always ready to embrace next-generation technology.
Many of them are. According to Nemertes Research, 44 percent of organizations say “improved agility for IT” is the top driver in their adoption of cloud communications. That’s up from 29 percent a year ago.
Of course, there are obstacles to face. One is that it’s not always easy to move every service a business requires to the cloud. Some, for example, need access to databases and proprietary systems. Often, an organization must keep some services on its existing infrastructure, while moving only a few key applications online.
One of the cloud’s most important benefits is that it allows for the easy addition of new apps, services and licenses, both fostering agility and spurring innovation. While today some customer-focused cloud apps aren’t as flexible as businesses need them to be, the next-generation of cloud communications technology promises to expand their capabilities.
Those more agile and open systems will enable businesses to quickly deploy innovative communications apps, tap into developer resources and create a wide range of custom solutions.
When evaluating next-gen cloud platforms, here’s what IT teams should require.
Off-the-shelf apps. Every business uses a range of communications services every day, including collaboration and workflow tools. To adapt to each organization’s needs, most will require only modest changes. Once they’re in place, users should be able to easily download these apps and put them to work for themselves and for their customers. Ideally, a cloud platform should offer a marketplace that makes hundreds of services available on demand to any employee in the organization, opening the door for more productivity and new machine-to-machine and machine-to-people interactions.. And your IT department shouldn’t have to spend time managing licenses or supporting the software.
Accessibility. Apple’s App Store is a prime example of why there’s so much to be gained from a platform that’s available to both developers and users. Everyone can benefit from the work and creativity of the developer community, from streamlining workflows to transforming the customer experience, and more.
Custom apps. One-size-fits-all is a bad recipe for business differentiation. To create exceptional value for their customers, businesses must be able to build apps that fit the specific needs of their employees, individual market segments and internal workflows.
Quick to market. Intensely competitive markets necessitate significantly shorter product development cycles. Product teams want a platform that can enable them to develop an idea, validate the concept and deliver it to market in as little as a few weeks.
Scalability. From the beginning, the ability to scale up and down has been a key benefit of cloud communications. Next-generation platforms should expand on that promise by acting as a gateway to other systems. Such platforms will bridge the gap between existing infrastructure and the cloud.
Vertical apps. Communications needs vary by industry or customer group. A physician’s office might need an appointment reminder service to notify nurses and doctors as well as patients. Meanwhile, a hotel might tailor its mobile app to provide more perks to the elite members of its awards program. The next-gen platform should allow IT developers to modify existing apps and deploy them with little effort.
These are just a few of the requirements IT teams should demand in a next-generation technology platform. More flexible cloud communications will ensure their businesses can innovate, differentiate and monetize products and services – all with less risk and at a lower cost.