No doubt, you’ve been hearing a lot more about the benefits of migrating communications and IT functions to the cloud to assist in enabling remote work. And, you may have even taken some initial steps in this direction to get your team working from home. Perhaps you’re now using a cloud PBX with softphones that can be used from any laptop or smartphone connected to the Internet.
But there’s a lot more that you can do to ensure that not only phone calls, but collaboration, contact center, productivity applications, data and other critical assets are always accessible from the cloud. Migrating communications and IT systems to the cloud not only removes the necessity for your team to be in the office to do their work, it creates a pathway to survive and -even thrive – during a business disruption.
What Communications & IT Systems Should You Move to the Cloud?
In creating a business continuity plan, your organization will go through an audit (traditionally referred to as a Business Impact Analysis or BIA) of your current IT infrastructure and applications, so you know what variables specific to your company need to make the transition to the cloud.
Below is a general list of the systems you should consider moving from your premises-based environment:
- Communications & Collaboration
- Contact Center software
- Office Productivity Applications (e.g., Microsoft Office or G-Suite)
- Email Applications
- File Sharing Applications
- Accounting Software
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Applications
- Human Resources (HR) Files & Employee Records
- Accounting & Billing Systems
- E-Commerce Applications
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
- Supply Chain Management (SCM)
- Human Resources (HR) Files & Employee Records
- Payroll Systems
- Website Hosting (particularly if you have customer admin and payment portals or, e-commerce integrations in your website)
Most of these are readily available from cloud service providers in a subscription model priced by user. If you’re using an older application, your vendor may have a cloud-based version you can transition to, or you may need to consider a new provider. In the case of proprietary apps, you’ll need to consult with your IT team or IT consultants about making those cloud-ready.
Generally speaking, any mission-critical item that you and your staff need to access for your business to function should be considered as part of a move to the cloud. Depending on your industry, you may begin to think of your physical office as an optional and potentially disposable part of your business operations on a temporary or even permanent basis. This strategy is increasingly realistic for most front- and back-office functions even if there are other parts of your business that require facilities like manufacturing, warehousing or personal services.
What are the Business Benefits of Moving Communications & IT Systems to the Cloud?
The benefits of leveraging communications and IT systems in the cloud are many, particularly if you’re leveraging a cloud service provider (rather than simply hosting your own apps in the cloud). These include:
- Avoiding capital expenditures on systems and equipment and converting them to operating expenses – usually in a predictable monthly or annual subscription.
- Scaling on-demand with the growth of your business or seasonal spikes (or decreases) in usage.
- Seamlessly integrating mobile and remote workers by enabling anywhere access to applications from internet-enabled devices.
- Creating competitive advantage by unifying communications and making apps always accessible so you can collaborate with internal teams easier and respond to customers more quickly.
- Future-proofing vital infrastructure with automatic updates and upgrades that are part of your subscription.
- Offloading management of communications and IT hardware and software, so you can focus on your business.
- Decentralized resources – Both from a personnel perspective (i.e., you can hire talent working from anywhere) and asset perspective since your company doesn’t physically house or maintain these assets, so there is little risk and no maintenance.
These are the cornerstones of the cloud value proposition, but if you dig deeper there are other advantages for cost savings and business continuity.
What are the Cost Benefits of Moving Communications & IT Systems to the Cloud?
Your budget is a concern any decision you make at the best of times, but especially in uncertain times. The good news is that cloud solutions typically can reduce costs. Advocates typically point to the cloud attributes as cost benefits:
- Avoiding upfront costs
- Paying as you go
- Paying for what you use
- No-cost updates/upgrades
- Risk and maintenance costs fall to the provider
However, there are other potential cost savings, such as:
- Reducing travel time and expenditures with video conferencing and web meetings.
- Lowering operating overhead of office leases by enabling some or all employees to work from home.
- Automating tasks to reduce or redeploy staff by using auto attendant or interactive voice response systems to help your customers help themselves to get to the person or information they need.
- Reducing churn through better customer experiences by integrating customer relationship management (CRM) applications with communications systems for quicker service.
- Ensuring seamless business operations and revenue generation even during an outage or natural disaster.
What are the Business Continuity Benefits of Moving Communications & IT Systems to the Cloud?
Cloud’s ability to support business continuity is one of its most important but least discussed benefits. Let’s take a deeper dive since present circumstances have you thinking long and hard about how to keep your business up and running no matter what.
- Get always-on access to business communications and applications, which are hosted in the cloud and are accessible from any internet-enabled device, even if your telecom provider has an outage or your building is not accessible.
- Leverage built-in georedundancy and backups from your cloud service provider ensure that your data is safe and accessible.
- Ensure data integrity and security by leveraging your cloud service providers’ experts and protocols.
Ready to Move Your Communications to the Cloud?
Contact a FlexIP Solutions Specialist Today!