Unified communications in the cloud: A winning scenario for all

This article was originally published on Technology.Info.
As part of our continuing strategy for growth, ITProPortal has joined forces with Technology.Info to help us bring you the very best coverage we possibly can.

In recent years, the traditional working environment has become fragmented as employees take advantage of mobility and the opportunity to work away from the physical office. As the office space is reconfigured into a global workplace, the associated communication challenges that come with a fragmented workforce are beginning to impact companies.

The benefits provided by unified communications have been widely recognised. This allows businesses to boost collaboration, enhance worker productivity and deliver better customer service. TechNavio, a technology research and advisory company

, has forecast that

the global unified communication market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15.85 per cent over the period 2012-2016. One of the key factors behind this growth is the shift from on-premises to cloud-based unified communications. Correspondingly, we have witnessed a growing industry debate on the advantages of moving to a cloud-based unified communications solution.

The most common fear when it comes to cloud-based unified communications is that it has a negative impact on phone calls. Many of us have been in conference calls with poor sound quality and can testify to the importance of hearing everything clearly. As a result, many people choose to communicate through e-mail and chat rather than using the phone. There are ways to improve teleconference sound quality though. One solution is HD Voice, and many vendors, including ZTE, are incorporating this solution in their offerings. However, improving call sound quality is just a minor challenge, and cloud-based unified communications offers many advantages that offset the challenges.

Administration of unified communications solution

One of the biggest benefits of a cloud-based unified communications solution is that it outsources the administration of the system to service providers, who are better qualified to manage it. On-premise unified communications requires the skills to manage and integrate servers providing services such as email, enterprise applications, customer relationship management (CRM), and mobile devices. Employees at small to medium sized businesses might not have the technical expertise or the time to manage an advanced on-premise system. Using a cloud-based unified communications solution will enable staff to focus on their core roles, increase productivity while minimising operational challenges.

Easy management of expanding and contracting workforce

In a highly globalised and competitive world businesses have fast-moving requirements such as increasing or decreasing workforces. As most cloud services are charged on a per-user basis, a cloud-based unified communications service offers a unique advantage by allowing businesses to “dial up” or “dial down” the number of users depending on business needs. Giving businesses control of how many users they can add or subtract can result in long term cost effectiveness.

Mobility

Cloud-based unified communications feeds into one of the biggest IT trends of the decade– mobility. This offers businesses a unique proposition to power a mobile workforce by providing access to corporate data and collaboration tools when employees are out and about. As long as they have Internet access, staff will be able to connect and deliver from any location in the world.

Business continuity/ disaster recovery

One more advantage offered by a cloud-based solution is business continuity. Any disruption in an organisation’s everyday business can result in serious losses. However with a cloud-based solution businesses are better equipped to handle the impact of a disruption as solution providers use multiple data centres located in different regions, thus minimising the disruption’s impact and ensuring faster recovery.
In a world dominated by fast-moving trends and innovations, it is imperative that organisations do everything in their power to remain competitive. Unified communications offers a golden opportunity to increase productivity and worker collaboration. The addition of cloud-based unified communications further enhances these benefits and arms businesses to cope in a global environment.
Paul Mace is the UK infrastructure Director of ZTE, a global provider of telecommunications and network solutions.

Topics