When It Makes Sense to Virtualize Your Phone System

    What are the key drivers for businesses that make the switch from their analog phone system to a cloud phone system? According to a report by J Arnold & Associates, three hot-button trends provide compelling reasons for companies to go virtual: scalability, application integration and security.

    If you’re still running your business using a traditional phone system, there’s a good chance you’re probably contending with at least two of those issues. But why are these trends indicators of change? Let’s look at them.

    You Need to Manage a Growth Spurt

    Growing businesses must be agile to sustain their growth, says J Arnold. This means being flexible enough to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. For example, when your sales seem to jump exponentially overnight, keeping up with demand can stress your organization and resources. Such a scenario puts your business at a critical juncture: If your systems can’t keep pace, success becomes an obstacle to greater growth.  

    For example, Bonobos, an online mens’ clothier, is a Web-based retailer that initially used analog phones to take orders. But as the business became more successful, the phone system couldn’t keep up. “The phones worked, but couldn’t scale with us, give us mobility options, or enable us to provide the superior customer service we promise,” explained John Rote, vice president of customer experience.

    Another growth challenge is managing the cost of scaling operations. Capital expenses often need to be incurred before sales revenue is in the bank. Because the vendor manages cloud phone systems, however, the cost of IT operations is reduced, both in labor and capital expenses. Overall, virtualizing your phone system gives you a lower total cost of ownership, which allows you to sustain cash flow.

    Finally, a cloud phone system enables companies to switch at their own pace, scaling up or down quickly according to market conditions. Thus, timing can be more flexible and based on business need rather than a contract expiration date.

    Your Business Is Data-Driven

    Big data offers striking opportunities for tapping new markets and more effectively meeting the needs of target customers. If your business has mastered the art of capturing revenue based on data insights, a cloud phone system will expand your horizons.

    For instance, by integrating call data, cloud phones can provide valuable new metrics that improve employee productivity, make business processes more effective, and help you develop customer loyalty. There’s more synergy when the system resides in the same environment as your CRM, ERP and other business applications. And the resulting intelligence not only improves the customer experience, but also helps achieve greater operational efficiency.

    Protecting Your Data Is a Priority

    There’s no doubt that data breaches can be devastating. Such occurrences put your financial situation in jeopardy and open up the likelihood of lawsuits. But they also create a significant risk to your reputation – one that may be hard to recover from.

    Typical targets of are credit card data from customers, company banking records and accounts, and even the flow of funds for business transactions or customer invoices, according to the J Arnold report. But privacy breaches potentially risk the most damage because they can lead to a loss of trust by employees, customers and suppliers.

    But you can mitigate those risks by virtualizing your phone system and working with a reliable cloud phone vendor. Companies like ShoreTel have the expertise and resources to manage data security effectively, giving you a higher level of confidence that your systems will be safe from intrusion.

    Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? If so, it may make sense to virtualize your phone system. And keep in mind: The key to trumping your competitors is making smart moves faster and sooner than they do.

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