Cloud computing is now a familiar part of any business, with some estimates suggesting as many as 95 per cent of firms have already embraced some form of this technology, either formally or informally.
Therefore, when it comes to upgrading communication systems, migrating to cloud telephony services may seem like the obvious answer for many firms. And with the retirement of the UK’s legacy ISDN network in 2025, many more companies will be forced to make a decision sooner rather than later about the future of their voice communications.
The popularity of cloud telephony solutions has been growing significantly in recent years, with almost one in five global PBX shipments using hosted cloud services in 2018, up from just 3.6 per cent in 2010. But this does not necessarily mean they will be right for every business.
While there are certainly major benefits to be gained from this technology, on-premise alternatives are far from obsolete, and indeed may be preferable for some enterprises. Therefore, it’s vital to know where you stand and what your firm’s individual needs are before committing to a cloud migration.
When cloud computing might be the answer
For many companies, the cloud may be an ideal solution to an increasingly fluid environment. The way we work is changing fast. Even before the remote working revolution created by the coronavirus pandemic, more firms were already looking for ways to improve their agility, with one in four people looking to change their role in order to work more flexibly.
With many workers less than keen to return to crowded offices, tools that can make it easier to connect at any time, from any location, will be hugely important. Therefore, if agility matters to your firm, cloud telephony solutions can prove hugely useful.
These technologies benefit from easy scalability and flexibility, and are therefore well-suited to adapt to the changing behaviour of users, whether this is more homeworking, keeping in touch with colleagues around the country or tying into other communications tools like videoconferencing and instant messages. These Collaboration Tools are Driving the Flexible Working Revolution.
If you need to add users on-demand, take advantage of features such as call redirecting and collaborate easily across a business, the chances are cloud telephony services will be your best options.
Firms with highly seasonal levels of activity, those with multiple office sites and those for whom major upfront investments would be a challenge should also consider cloud services as a primary option.
Should you stick with on-premise tools?
However, this won’t apply to everyone. For instance, if you’re in a highly regulated industry where security is a factor, or if you have an unusual or complex working environment, the more in-depth level of control and customisation offered by on-premise services could be a key advantage.
While all major cloud providers offer high levels of security and reliability, for some businesses, the peace of mind they get from being able to manage every aspect of their communications system will be a must-have. This also means they will have greater freedom of choice for the services they use and will not be tied into the solutions and technologies of a single cloud vendor.
For those that can afford the greater initial costs and plan to keep the same telephony system in place for many years to come, a single larger expenditure at the outset may work out cheaper in the long run than a single monthly recurring cost, even when additional expenses such as maintenance are factored in.
Ultimately, while cloud telephony will be a great option for many businesses, it’s not right for everyone, and making a poor decision can cost you time, money and productivity as you try and put it right. Therefore, it’s vital to get the input of an expert impartial partner that can advise you on what the best option for your enterprise will be before making any major commitment.
To learn more about the pros and cons of cloud and on-premise telephony systems, download our white paper: On-premise vs Cloud – Which PBX Phone is best?