Cloud-hosted collaboration, which is the tech lingo for having your phone system in the cloud, continues to pique the interest of more and more organizations.
Not only do you get the standard features you need for a business phone solution, but there are also specific benefits from moving your phone system from on-premises in your IT stack to the cloud.
When businesses come to The KR Group looking to add flexibility to their phone system without sacrificing functionality, we introduce them to the idea of migrating to a cloud solution.
So, what are these features you should consider when thinking of migrating your phone system to the cloud? Here are a few of the most impactful ones:
- Standard calling features
- Immune to many IT issues
- Contact center features
- Efficient maintenance/reduced IT infrastructure
The specifics of how the following information applies to your phone system vary from vendor to vendor. However, we’ll keep the following information general, so that it applies to most of the options you’ll look at.
Standard Calling Features with Cloud-Hosted Collaboration
With any cloud-hosted collaboration solution you’ll have the necessary features to make and receive calls as well as a voicemail inbox.
Depending on which vendor you partner with and the options they have, you’ll access these features via direct routing or bundled PTSN services.
With direct routing, you get to choose which telephony vendor you use, but you’ll still need to support some on-site infrastructure, including a session border controller (SBC) and SIP trunk.
With bundled PTSN services, your phone solution vendor gives you one or more pre-selected options for service. You’ll have fewer option this way, but there are other benefits, such as established vendor relationship and simplified billing.
Immune to Many IT Issues
For example, internet outages won’t take your phone solution offline by configuring proper dual WAN or SD-WAN, and failures of phone system hardware aren’t an issue since your phone provider is hosting the service.
The exception to this, of course, is you need a strong internet connection so you can connect to the cloud. However, there are ways to implement redundancy with back-up internet circuits or workarounds by using the cloud-hosted app on your smartphone over cellular data.
It’s important to remember that you won’t have control over the vendor’s data center. Occasionally, something could happen on the provider’s end that temporarily shuts down cloud collaboration. In this situation, you’re waiting on them to resolve the issue.
If this is a concern, you’ll want to research the different providers of cloud collaboration and their average uptime.
Contact Center Features
Many cloud-hosted calling platforms come with contact center features, including call recording.
With this feature, you can manage and organize your customer services center. When someone calls into your organization, you can setup what options they have.
Contact centers also organize your customer service department.
Representatives can display and communicate with each other and supervisors when they’re ready to take calls, not ready (with a reason code), or currently talking.
For supervisors, contact centers provide the following features:
- Monitor critical performance metrics
- Manage queues, business hours, prompts, and outbound campaigns
- View active call details of an agent call in progress
- Silently monitor inbound and outbound calls
- Interrupt an agent’s call to interact and assist
- Change an agent’s state from their desktop in case the agent forgets
- Replay recorded conversations
- Chat with individual members or the entire team
All these features empower your agents to connect better with your customers, but contact centers go a step further and provide you some insight into how they’re connecting.
Internally, contact center allows you to track your agents. The supervisor can review each user’s time spent in different status states to monitor for productivity or potential problems.
Contact centers’ data tracking provides insight on what options your customers used to get to the line they needed. This information allows you to reconfigure to streamline the process based on any patterns you see.
Reduced IT Infrastructure
Migrating your phones to the cloud means there are fewer devices to upgrade, fix, and support because you’ve reduced the amount of infrastructure you require.
You won’t have to pay for the equipment itself or the power, space, and server room to accommodate it. This also means you aren’t responsible for handling updates and maintenance for the solution since that is handled by the vendor at their data center.
As a result, it means you eliminate invoices for an IT consultant to spend 30-60 hours upgrading an on-premises phone system. Instead, this cost is covered by your subscription fees.
Also, because your new collaboration solution is hosted in the cloud, you have access to the vendor’s engineering team, which alleviates some of the time commitment from your IT consultant. That relationship is still important to understand what changes have occurred because of the cloud migration, but your IT consultant is no longer the middleman for the project.
Scalability & Flexibility of Cloud-Hosted Collaboration
By eliminating or reducing IT infrastructure and utilizing the cloud vendor’s data center, your company benefits with better scalability and flexibility.
The process for adding or removing a user is as simple as making a request and then updating billing information.
And you also have added flexibility by no longer relying on your own infrastructure. Your phone system isn’t confined to the walls of your office or require additional configuration to work remotely.
It’s even possible to securely administrate your cloud-hosted collaboration solution through a web browser from any computer with internet access, including places where VPN connection isn’t possible, without compromising security.
Why Should You Consider Cloud-Hosted Collaboration?
If you had any hesitations about migrating your phone system to the cloud, hopefully, some of those worries have been put to rest.
Ideally, they’ve been replaced with affirmation that you should consider moving your phone system to the cloud.
The migration won’t affect the functionality of your phone solution; you’ll still have dial tone, voicemail, contact center, and other features.
Plus, by reducing or eliminating the on-site hardware required for an on-premises phone system, you’ll be less prone to many IT issues, won’t have to worry about executing updates, and benefit from increased flexibility and scalability.
To learn more about what cloud-hosted collaboration can do for you, check out this free Webex Calling infographic.