It should come as no surprise that so many businesses across the world are starting to embrace cloud computing. Why wouldn’t they when the benefits of off-premise hosting are not only numerous but compelling: reduced IT costs, flexibility, scalability, economies of scale, business continuity and disaster recovery are to name but a few.
But given the advantages it provides, why are these same technology adopters not reaping the rewards that cloud hosting can offer their unified communications (UC) operations?
While businesses are busy moving their IT to the cloud, few have realised the benefits of moving their telecoms and communications there too. This just goes to show that far too many people still think of technology as IT rather than ICT.
It may be called cloud computing but it isn’t only IT applications such as email and CRM that can be virtualised – these days it is perfectly possible to have a virtual instance of your IP telephony call control hosted on an off-premise cloud next to your production IT estate.
UK businesses need to bear this in mind because, at the moment, many of them are missing a trick by failing to recognise the business benefits of moving telephony to the cloud. This has been highlighted by a recent survey of UK businesses conducted for Six Degrees Group (6DG).
The research asked 100 UK businesses about their telephony solution. It highlighted that there is a surprising lack of uptake when it comes to hosting telephony services in the cloud. In fact, more than half of those using cloud for IT hosting had not considered using it for their telephony and UC.
The survey revealed that less than half (48%) of businesses are using the cloud for their telephony. Even when businesses were using cloud for their telephony, they were markedly cautious about doing so, with only a small proportion willing to host more than three-quarters of their telephone systems in the cloud.
Of the 52% of businesses that were not using cloud for their telephony, 44% said control was the main reason for keeping systems on-premise, and just over a quarter had concerns over quality and redundancy compared to traditional telephony systems.
In what could be seen as a scathing indictment of the failure of the cloud computing sector to inform customers of the technology’s potential, a remarkable fifth of businesses were not even aware that telephony could be hosted in the cloud.
Given the benefits that IP telephony can provide, ignorance in this case is most definitely not bliss. Cloud-based telephony can deliver speed, flexibility and scalability to a company’s communications and provides a more tailored solution. Just as with IT in the cloud, a hosted telephony service removes the need for large, upfront capital investments and upgrades.
Despite concerns over control, quality and redundancy, telephony in the cloud is just as resilient and secure as on-premise systems. The service also provides the flexibility for businesses to access voice, video and collaboration tools on virtually any device while enjoying the OPEX benefits that are only achievable with cloud. Cloud-based telephony services can deliver a new path to greater business agility for companies while providing them with the flexibility of a pay-as-you-grow environment.
The time has come for companies benefiting from cloud for IT to recognise they have the opportunity to do the same with telecoms and UC. At the moment, many businesses are not taking full advantage of the benefits of cloud computing, and even those using hosted IP telephony aren’t using it to its full potential. In some cases, it doesn’t help that services providers have failed to explain that it makes sense to streamline operations and put telephony in the cloud too.
Businesses are dipping their toes in the water but aren't going all the way with cloud computing. If a services provider is looking after a business' infrastructure, it makes sense for that business to streamline operations and put their telephony in the cloud too. Businesses anxious about moving telephony to the cloud should look for a converged services provider that can address their quality and control requirement.
Ultimately, businesses need to evolve from thinking about cloud as simply a data storage solution and instead begin to recognise it as the answer to many other businesses challenges. Many businesses are relying on legacy solutions that require a great deal of time, budget and management – they need to realise that it’s perfectly possible to get the best of on-premise infrastructure with the business benefits of the cloud.
Sourced from Campbell Williams, Six Degrees Group