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Can your mobile strategy be effective without the cloud?

Two thirds of Brits already own a smartphone and over half of households now have a tablet. This pace will continue to accelerate both in our private lives and in the workplace.

With this in mind, businesses need to start adjusting their use of mobile technology in order to keep their workforce informed, connected and productive at all times.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you use a smartphone and Wi-Fi on the go, you’re making the most of your mobile options. You only begin to gain an edge when you employ tools that adapt to your situation and the device(s) you have in hand. To start, that means transitioning your communications services to the cloud, rather than depending on an in-house PBX.

PBX is history - so what are you going to do about it?

While a modern PBX can go a long way in supporting workforce mobility, they are a relic of a bygone era, for several reasons.

A PBX can quickly become out of date and therefore uneconomical. As it can never be upgraded, only replaced, this wastes time and money for businesses. By using a cloud-based system, the service is always up to date as the vendor is always upgrading the system behind the scenes.

Security and business application integration, such as CRM service, email and directory services, is critical. Then there are other elements like conferencing, particularly video conferencing, and presence and instant messaging, and even contact centre systems. In most cases, the IT department is tasked with managing a whole consortium of vendors to bring these systems together. Then they face the burden of securing all these separate systems from an ever-increasing onslaught of attackers. There’s also the challenge of keeping everything up to date and interoperable, which is never an easy task.

Mobile and cloud – the dream team

The cloud offers a much simpler journey. By choosing a vendor that provides a rich, bundled service set, where businesses can pick the services they need and security and CRM integrations are offered off-the-shelf, things instantly become easier and much more efficient. And because services are in the cloud, they can be accessed from wherever there is network connectivity, from multiple devices.

Through the cloud, it’s easy to keep personal and private communications separate. In the cloud, when a business call is made through a mobile phone, the caller only sees the business number. This stays consistent so there is only ever one number and one voicemail box.

Users also get complete system redundancy as part of the package. The cloud vendor is responsible to keep both systems up and running, allowing businesses to carry on as normal. But don’t believe the hype. It’s important to look at their uptime report statistics and take a closer look at the details about outages, length of time and frequency. If those details are not accessible, start looking at other vendors.

In the next couple of years, the number of connected devices will have exploded yet again and the market will need to evolve to address this.

This will in turn drive more businesses towards the cloud as the most effective way for technology to keep up with the rapid pace of change in their own business environment and the consequent development in user behaviour. Make sure you’re prepared before your competitors steal a march on you.

Kevin Scott-Cowell, UK MD of 8x8

Image Credit: Rido / Shutterstock