Small businesses in all industries are considering cloud services for a variety of reasons, but experts agree that their real value goes beyond cost savings. In fact, ROI from cloud migration is fueled by a capability drive collaboration, even among mobile and remote workers, and enhance interactions.
A recent Dialogic report revealed that the cloud-based communications market is projected to reach $8 to 10 billion by 2014. The firm asserted that the most popular applications to deploy in the cloud will include voicemail, contact centers, notifications, voice and video conferencing, click to connect and SMS/MMS. One of the primary reasons that businesses are moving on-premise solutions to the cloud is for faster, more affordable implementation of new technologies. Additionally, Dialogic explained that cloud services offer wider coverage and enable anytime, anywhere access by end users.
While cloud computing can undoubtedly minimize costs for small businesses, Unified Communications Strategies contributor Dave Michels emphasized that the goal for migration should be focused on collaboration. While desktop-based solutions make it difficult to access content or reach a colleague, the cloud can rapidly accelerate these processes. Michels explained that the cloud allows companies to realize easier remote access, meaning that location is no longer a factor in productivity. He noted that while hosted email was the first cloud-based communications solution that enterprises considered, modern tools such as video conferencing have revolutionized engagement with partners, customers and suppliers.
Anywhere presence with cloud PBX
MarketingProfs reported that virtual phone systems have been especially beneficial by allowing associates to stay constantly connected both to each other and to customers, whether they are in the office or not. A cloud-based phone system, the source explained, turns any smartphone into a mobile office with features like call screening, call routing, multiple extensions and voice to text. Personalized greetings and menus allow small businesses to route calls to any device or location while maintaining a professional presence with clients.
Additionally, MarketingProfs pointed out that voice to text transcribes voicemails into a text or email, meaning that employees can access these messages even when they are unable to answer a call or check the voicemail system. This means that firms can constantly stay connected to the needs of customers and colleagues in real-time. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoiP) is also a valuable feature of cloud-based telephony, enabling higher connectivity wherever WiFi is available and reduced calling costs. Web conferencing can also allow staff to initiate convenient, highly dynamic online meetings among remote team members or with clients in distant locations.
Small business success depends on superior communications for growth, and cloud technologies can generate new opportunities for agility that offer more flexible, quality day to day interactions.