The cloud has been used for years to foster collaboration by allowing users to access and share information from anywhere, and increasingly businesses are turning to software-centric (i.e., cloud-based) carriers to deploy telecom services like voice and messaging.
Many businesses are frustrated with their dependence on legacy telco carriers to deploy and manage their communications services. Alternatively, IP (or cloud)-based communications gives developers direct access to, and control over, telephony resources such as phone numbers, inbound and outbound call routing, SMS and MMS through a self-service portal or APIs.
A survey of more than 1,000 business owners identified several factors influencing their decision to adopt cloud-based communications services over traditional, on-premise telephony systems.
These included a lower total cost of ownership (38 percent), the ability to scale quickly (19 percent) and greater system resiliency (15 percent). Respondents also noted the ability to add new communications features via the cloud as “easier” in comparison to an on-premises system.
However, many businesses still need education based on some common misperceptions around cloud communications, particularly in areas such as security, complexity, costs, reliability and call quality.
Below are some of the (unfounded and inaccurate) concerns that some businesses cite when it comes to migrating to a software-centric, cloud-based carrier:
1 – The call quality just isn’t as good in the cloud
Voice quality is often number one on the priority list when evaluating cloud-based service providers. Businesses (and their customers) simply cannot afford dropped calls or degraded service. The reality is that concerns over quality issues such as latency, jitter and packet loss are largely unfounded with today’s modern IP-based carriers as well as the availability of always-on broadband connections and built in redundancy. Notably, some software-centric service providers are certified as CLECs (Competitive Local Exchange Carriers), giving them direct access to telecom resources that can ensure carrier-grade clear, reliable and high-performing voice connections 24/7.
2 – Landlines are more reliable
The reality is that today’s software-centric carriers can resolve network outages faster than legacy telcos because of their unique ability to reroute IP-based traffic. This means that when a company experiences a local access or network path outage, instead of calling the phone company and waiting for a fix (sometimes for hours), technology known as adaptive call routing can quickly bypass the disruption so the business can quickly resume normal operations. Similarly, if companies are experiencing degraded service, adaptive call routing can reroute the traffic over another secure partner network to ensure capacity, uptime, and quality.
3 – IP phone systems are a security nightmare
A single telecom fraud event can cost a company anywhere from $3,000 to $50,000, having lasting detrimental effects to the company’s customer relationships and ultimately its corporate reputation. Security is only as good as its weakest link, and a business communications platform is as safe as you make it. Many of the stories about VoIP vulnerabilities are a result of improperly set up PBXs. To keep sensitive information out of the hands of fraudsters, the entire network must be secured, including Internet phone lines. This means following basic security practices such as ensuring software and firmware are up-to-date, and conducting an annual security audit of the system.
It’s important to consider that migrating to a cloud-based communications system doesn’t have to be an all-or-none proposition. There are options that allow businesses to start small to see if an IP-based solution makes sense for your business:
The first is to replace your existing on-premises PBX technology with a cloud-based solution. This option provides the least amount of disruption to a business, and provides the same calling experience for employees and customers by offering the same capabilities they expect, such as making and receiving calls on a traditional handset, voicemail, and multi-party conference calling.
There are also purpose-built software solutions for specific industries or functions. Remindercall.com is a cloud-based appointment reminder service for the healthcare industry that uses calling, messaging, and email so that patients can confirm or reschedule appointments through a simple, automated voice or SMS interaction.
When selecting a software-centric carrier, it’s critical to understand that not all cloud communications providers are created equal; a cookie-cutter approach just doesn’t work here. Businesses need to be mindful of working with a provider who can deliver capabilities that align to your company’s unique priorities and objectives.
Guest Blog by Darach Beirne
Darach is the Vice President of Customer Success at Flowroute. He has over 20 years experience building and leading customer support, customer success, professional services, and sales engineering teams for providers such as Richemont/Contenix, 3Leaf Systems, Oracle/InQuira, Siebel/Scopus and Ingres.