Cloud-based telephone systems, which have been around for the past decade, have mostly been the domain of small businesses. The bandwidth and reliability needs of large companies outpaced the capabilities hosted private branch exchange (PBX) systems could provide.
In addition, scaling a cloud-based system to meet the needs of larger companies usually proved too expensive. Larger companies typically found it more cost effective to buy a physical system to deploy on premises upfront rather than pay recurring fees for a cloud-based service.
But that is all beginning to change. Advances in technology and shifts in company priorities are creating a situation in which cloud-based telephone services make sense for medium-sized businesses — and large companies could follow suit. What is driving this change?
Advanced Cloud Features
Features have come a long way since the first telephone systems were outsourced more than a decade ago. In those early days, hosted systems provided basic telephone functionality and little more. With workforce mobility and the need for advanced functionality becoming a reality of doing business today, basic is no longer enough.
Now telephone systems support mobility, collaboration, and call center features that were either nonexistent or prohibitively expensive just 10 years ago.
Some advanced features remain expensive, although a few cloud-based telephone system providers are beginning to incorporate advanced features in their standard pricing.
Cloud Network Evolution
When hosted telephone systems first emerged, broadband connection speeds were nothing like what they are today. Even the best connections reached only about 1.5 Mbps, and the typical phone call required 100 kbps of bandwidth. This severely limited the number of phone calls that could be ongoing at any given time.
For small businesses with low call volumes, these constraints weren’t a limiting factor. But in most cases, a large business would not be able to accept a phone system that sapped all of its network bandwidth with just 15 calls ongoing.
Advances in data speeds and network bandwidth in the past decade have changed that dynamic. Now, networks are more than capable of providing the speed and bandwidth required to handle numerous phone calls while continuing to support other traffic and functionality on the network. In addition, security, network equipment, and quality of service have all improved since the formative days of hosted telephone systems, making them a much more viable option for large organizations.
IT departments have shifted from administrators who manage systems to profit centers. Key responsibilities in the past for IT personnel included setting up and maintaining computer equipment, managing infrastructure, and keeping tabs on security. Now, IT personnel are charged with developing tools that enhance customer interactions, upgrading websites, and integrating systems to increase revenue potential.
As a result, the day-to-day system maintenance and management functions are increasingly being offloaded to companies that specialize in these processes. Hosted telecommunications systems require little in-house maintenance, making them an ideal area to outsource IT support.
Making the Shift to a Cloud System
Any decision to move IT or critical business functions to a cloud-based provider must be carefully considered. The functionality, costs, impact on IT personnel, and adjustment for employees must all be taken into account.
Technology advances have now opened up cloud-based telephone systems to organizations of all sizes, including large companies that previously had to rely on in-house equipment and systems to meet their telecom needs.
Contact us to learn more about how cloud-based telecommunications systems benefit a variety of organizations.