Much like many disruptive technologies, the cloud has been met with reticence as well as excitement.
Where cloud computing offers better cost-efficiency, flexibility and scalable opportunities, some businesses are still hesitant about switching to a service where they don’t have full control of their data.
When company data is stored in the cloud, that means it is hosted in off-site data centres. It is this off-premises data storage that many may view as a security risk.
However, advances in cybersecurity now mitigate these concerns. Cloud service providers run the latest software in order to fully safeguard all their managed systems and the data they hold. In fact, cloud technology is one of the key reasons that cybersecurity has become the competitive, sophisticated and innovative discipline it is today.
In this article, we explore how you might benefit from switching from an on-site PBX to a cloud-based alternative.
Moving to a cloud PBX can significantly lower the total cost of ownership for your business telephony solutions, making it a wise decision for many as we look towards the future of the workplace. In some cases, businesses save as much as 40% on their communications costs, simply by moving to the cloud.
Consolidation is one of the key reasons for these lower costs. By consolidating multiple communications systems, including messaging, video and phone, all provided by a single vendor, organisations pay significantly less than when paying separate vendors for each function. In the same way, consolidation can eliminate hefty bills for services you don’t actually use.
With most cloud vendors, maintenance and updates to the system come as standard. That means you’ll also save money by reducing the time and costs associated with system upgrades and general maintenance of the solution.
Hardware is another area where businesses will save money. As a cloud communications system is software-based, you’ll eliminate the need for much of the hardware associated with an on-premises solution.
Scale quickly and easily
A cloud-based solution makes it much easier to scale your communications according to your needs as your business grows. With a cloud PBX, you’ll have less hassle provisioning and handling activation and management tasks relating to the system, meaning increased business agility.
With a cloud solution, your business will be able to add new users in minutes rather than days, and you can have whole departments of your organisation up and running much more quickly than with a traditional PBX solution.
The modern, user-friendly interfaces of a cloud communications system allow administrators to make simple changes and add users from anywhere in an instant, saving you a lot of time and resources.
Making the decision to move from an on-premises PBX to a cloud alternative means you’ll benefit from a more virtual, innovative and flexible communications platform.
With a cloud-based platform, businesses benefit from a more modernised IT environment as well as support and maintenance delivered by their chosen vendor, including regular updates to the system.
Cloud providers such as RingCentral are continually innovating and updating our products. RingCentral rolls out quarterly updates to the solutions automatically, persistently enhancing functionality and usability. Investing back into the product means RingCentral confidently delivers a financially-backed 99.999% uptime SLA. This constant innovation also means businesses benefit from ever-evolving security measures. RingCentral’s seven layers of security help to safeguard architecture, processes, data, and personnel.
On-premises PBX systems are more restrictive in terms of the functionality and potential customisation of the platform. With the cloud PBX alternative, businesses benefit from intuitive, intelligent features designed to improve the efficiency and productivity of their teams.
With a full-featured phone system, managers and users can benefit from features that range from traditional phone tools to more advance collaboration, monitoring, customisation and real-time analytics. With a cloud-based tool, teams can track real-time stats and measure performance, plan more effectively for peak times and record and analyse calls.
Streamlining and Integrations
With several different software tools at play in addition to your integral communications platform, integrations have become a crucial part of our business processes. Most cloud-based communications platforms will offer in-built integrations with everyday business tools such as Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 to help users schedule meetings, calls, and manage their calendars.
If you choose RingCentral as your cloud communications vendor, you’ll have access to over 250 off-the-shelf integrations available to help you from the off. In addition to this, your cloud communications platform should give you the freedom to personalise your solution and customise the integrations you use via open APIs and SDKs.
These integrations allow you to connect your communications tools with your other chosen business applications, including productivity tools, project management, compliance, AI, or marketing automation and any integral CRM such as Salesforce.
Easier data access
While many businesses cite data control as a roadblock to adopting a cloud-based system, easier data access is a key driver for many wanting to get hold of their data whenever and wherever they need to.
Cloud PBX users can access the data they need as long as they have an internet connection and a secure username and password to log into the system. With a virtual PBX, data is stored securely in the cloud, but with on-premises PBX systems, accessing data on a daily basis, particularly remotely, is far more challenging.
As well as reducing the requirement for physical hardware, a cloud-based system, depending on your chosen vendor, usually also means servers are dispersed across different geographical locations. This can also help with your business continuity, with failover redundancy, meaning you minimise the risk of downtime.
As the concept of ‘work’ becomes less of a place and more of a virtual environment, the needs of the average employee develop at a similar pace. This means businesses are looking for ways to empower their teams while delivering exceptional customer service.
Adopting a cloud-based communications strategy is the ultimate way to unlock the scalability and flexibility required for globalisation as it ensures your workforce can maintain the same quality audio experiences wherever they are based.
Being based in the cloud opens the opportunity for global availability. RingCentral provides cloud communications in over 100 countries, meaning businesses with multi-site locations across the globe can plan more easily for global expansion.
How to set up a cloud PBX
While switching from an on-premises PBX to a cloud counterpart is inexpensive in general, there are a few steps you can take for a smoother transition.
First, you’ll need to cancel your existing PBX service to settle any remaining bills to your provider and allow the vendor to reclaim any necessary hardware. It’s important to be upfront with your previous supplier so that you don’t stumble across billing issues when you port your phone numbers over to the new system.
Before you set up your new cloud PBX system, it’s also worth conducting an audit of your internet and assessing your bandwidth before switching over to your cloud system to ensure it allows for the best quality of service possible once you’ve installed the new system. Be sure to also audit any hardware requirements and assess the need for any desk phone requirements in addition to those using softphones, and make sure that any headsets you choose are compatible with your new provider’s software.
Many vendors state that their set-up will only take a matter of hours or one single day, but make sure that your entire workforce knows about the switchover and what it will mean in terms of downtime. On switchover day, your chosen service provider should take care of setting up the new service, which should mean your employees will be back up and running very quickly.
Making a decision
Many businesses are under pressure to replace legacy systems with next-generation technology now more than ever.
With business technologies such as unified communications, team collaboration and tailored contact centre solutions available ‘as a service’, business leaders have a no-brainer option for making their organisations more flexible, scalable and cost-effective.
Being able to access multiple different communications capabilities all within one platform, delivered by a single provider, enables today’s mobile workforce to collaborate from anywhere.
Making the decision to switch to a cloud-based system could be the turning point to make your organisation more productive and efficient than ever before and prepare you for the business challenges of the future.