Cloud telephony systems offer advantages to a range of enterprises, regardless of where they might be in the digital life cycle, or whether they have already adopted a cloud-based model.
Digital tools fulfil this intrinsic need regardless of size or sector.
What is cloud telephony?
Adopting cloud telephony means that all the phone infrastructure of the company will be transferred from the legacy setup to the internet. While calls may still utilise existing infrastructure like fixed phone lines or mobile devices, and utilise systems like the office switchboard or PBX; cloud telephony calls are digital and transmitted, routed and terminated via the internet. This process is known as placing the service in a virtual or cloud environment – hence the term ‘cloud telephony’.
In a virtualised environment, all the telephony ‘hardware’ such desk phones, cables and switchboards are replaced by software and operated virtually by a third party. A business simply needs to sign up for the service with a trusted cloud telephony partner. Typically, there is a monthly service fee, dependent on the package chosen – the number of lines activated, types of value-added services chosen and so on – which results in a recurring monthly cost, that can be allocated to OPEX. As opposed to spending on hardware and software to own and operate systems, ensuring uptime and depreciation, replacement and having skilled employees on board, a cloud-based model delivers the same connectivity while eliminating all these issues.
To access cloud telephony all that a company needs is a router and internet connection (which may be provided by the service provider). No other special equipment needed. No licenses, buying handsets, upfront engineering or installation, as all essential infrastructure lies with the service provider
When should an organisation consider cloud telephony?
The advantages of cloud-based communications infrastructure can be split broadly into three categories:
- Reduction of operating costs
- Improved quality of service
- Development of enhanced or new services
The benefits to any individual company will depend on many unique factors, including sector, scale, growth ambitions, need for 24-hour customer services and the composition and distribution of its workforce.
For many small businesses, traditional fixed line telephony services offer a compelling proposition. If the infrastructure is already in place and sufficient to address regular business demands and there is limited need for remote working or sophisticated customer interaction, the move to cloud can well be deferred.
However, for companies actively seeking to cut operating expenses related to telecoms, improve service availability and improve the agility of the company, cloud telephony provides compelling benefits. Such companies could include:
- Those with a distributed workforce, either in the form of remote workers, other office locations or mobile staff
- Those with a fleet of workers in the field, needing access to central phone systems
- Organisations requiring customer verification services and call recording
- Suppliers of multinational services or others requiring 24x7 telephone support
- Businesses conducting phone or SMS campaigns needing data collection and analytics
Cloud services can support regulatory and security requirements as well, often a driver in the case of outsourcing companies working with overseas clients.
Educational app company Byju needed to handle multiple calls through a single number and offer 24-hour service availability. Byju also needed to record all calls for regulatory purposes. Using traditional infrastructure for this purpose would have been difficult and very expensive.
Following the deployment of Tata Tele Business Services’ cloud telephony solution, students and prospects can now call Byju’s expert executives through standard 10-digit numbers over the internet. Calls are remotely switched over the cloud and are received by Byju’s team on their standard GSM mobile phones (allowing them freedom of movement). As part of the deployment, signal boosters were installed at Byju’s premises to ensure high call quality for service users. All calls are automatically
As a result, Byju has increased availability, efficiency and seen geometric growth.
Here are some signs a company might be ready for a cloud telephony solution.
- Growing quickly, with sudden spikes in demand that need to be met instantly: Without the need to install physical infrastructure to support telecoms services, businesses can scale their operations up or down much faster and more cheaply with cloud infrastructure. Cloud-based calling via the internet brings down long-distance telephony spend to a fraction of the cost incurred with legacy infrastructure.
- Distributed enterprises that need to be centrally managed: Cloud telephony infrastructure is completely virtual, reducing the inefficiencies related to managing multiple sites, vendors and equipment types. This level of flexibility can be a great asset to distributed enterprises.
- Customer support imperatives: The ability to offer a much better customer experience is a key reason many enterprises cite for making the switch to cloud. In addition to the highest quality of service they can more easily roll out new services and technologies without the cost or disruption associated with hiring or purchasing new hardware and software.
- Need for round-the-year business continuity: Mission-critical businesses need to offer uninterrupted service even if the unexpected should happen at a business premises – break-in, fire or flood. A cloud-based service is remotely hosted and continues to function regardless of what happens on site and can divert calls to other sites, for example, within minutes.
Cloud telephony turns communications infrastructure into an asset driving the development of their business. By assessing their own needs against the advantages that cloud offers, companies can ensure they harness the power of the cloud for their growth.