Moving to the Cloud, consider these options

June 15, 2015


Communication in business has a new face. At one time expensive hardware installed in your closet and copper land lines from your local phone company were what made up an office communications system. Now, more services are delivered via IP through hosted and managed applications in the cloud. As companies become increasingly mobile it is providing more choices regarding communications upgrades. Since a company is no longer tied to one office, it is imperative that an enterprise use the cloud to keep up with the exponential number of users that need voice, mobility and support from enterprise IT departments. Not only will it cut down on your equipment in-house, but it will save you time and money. Here are some options to consider when considering cloud communications:


Virtual Faxing - vFax 


Virtual fax via the cloud is a way to send and receive faxes on any laptop, desktop, tablet device or Smart Phone that is Internet-enabled. If you have access to email you can access faxing services. This is more efficient because you won't be dealing with fax hardware and analog phone lines. Faxes are delivered as PDF files and they are easy to share, retrieve and archive without the hassle of storing paper files, and each employee can have their own fax number. No longer is your private fax sitting on the fax machine for everyone to see. You also save money on fax hardware, analog fax lines and reducing the amount of paper used in faxing. Cloud enabled faxing integrates directly with your email and is simple to use. 


Hosted VoIP


VoIP takes analog signals from your phone and converts them into IP packets that are then transferred over the the network back to your cloud PBX or another IP phone. With hosted VoIP, you have a solution that is fully managed, supported and maintained by your provider and will deliver cloud-based enterprise features. Since your communication will be through your internet connections there is no longer a need for high cost analog lines or T1 lines to plug into your equipment. Since most (not all) VoIP providers have a redundant network this will eliminate points of failure in you voice network. On site phone system equipment failures go away. Most cloud providers provide some type of redundancy, some local and many geographic. Moving to VoIP is a painless process and will reduce overall communications expenses. If you select the right VoIP provider they will manage the system and upgrades and provide support for you and your company for everyday use. Hosted VoIP also eliminates costly technician visits when you need to move or add a phone. Consider hosted VoIP for your next phone system upgrade. 


Unified Communications


With unified communications (UC) you've already taken a step in the right direction. UC is certainly a hot topic these days. When deploying UC you can implement the features and functionality in stages or all at one time. UC allows you to integrate your office communication system with smart phone and tablet apps, PC clients, instant messaging, video, mobility and faxing. Having integration will save you time, consider the fact you have your email application open every day all day, even on your smart phone. When you receive a voice mail you can listen to it or read it in your email or on your smart phone, no need to call into the VM system and listen to the message while trying to write down the pertinent information you need. Using a mobile app you can instant message fellow employees, dial them by extension from your mobile phone of even have a video call with them when your out of the office. UC will streamline your communications and allow you to communicate internally and externally more efficiently. Cloud based Unified Communications can be deployed quickly saving money on installation and purchasing of traditional hardware. Once your cloud based communications is implemented you can start adding layers of UC functionality. 


Instant Messaging


Using Instant Messaging (IM) for interoffice communication is much faster than emails or phone calls. Plus, more than one person can get in on the chat at the same time. If you are in need of a quick answer and don't want to draft an email or have time for a phone call you can quickly ask another employee a question and in seconds they can send you a quick answer without much disruption. You can relate it to texting from PC to PC. Using products like Microsoft Lync or Google Messenger you can integrate with your phone system and also see user presence. Presence is a great tool if you can see when someone is on a call or in a meeting then there is no need for you to waste time trying to contact them at that moment. When you see they are available you can send them a message or call their phone. 

Employees love the presence, collaboration and instant communication benefits of IM. They will save time and increase productivity, in the end it's a win win for everyone in the organization. 


Video Conferencing


Video conferencing in the cloud is transforming the way employees communicate in the business world. You get the high-quality video conferencing meetings without the up-front investment of hardware and IT staff to set it up. Cloud-based video conferencing lets you conference with anyone from anywhere, using a desktop, mobile device or designated conference room. Cloud video rooms can be integrated with IP based Video conference systems. Instead of making a traditional call from conference room to conference room, you can now connect a conference room to the cloud based bridge and any mobile employees or customers can connect with a mobile app or their conference room. Most video rooms can host between 10-25 users for a low monthly fee. This gives you flexibility and eliminates the need for your IT department to install and maintain very costly video bridge equipment. 


The Bottom Line


Overall, using the cloud is going to improve how well your company can communicate with one another and your clients. The cloud frees up more time to market your brand and focus on what is important, which is growing your business, not dealing with your technology.


If you are interested in learning more about cloud communications and your options take a look at our digital magazine




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