What is Cloud Communication? And Why It's Essential Infrastructure
What is Cloud Communication?
Remember the Nokia phone you had back in the day? The one with only calling and message capability? Well... that's not true... you could also entertain yourself with Snake, the original mobile game. If your current communication infrastructure at the office isn’t in the cloud, it’s like walking around with an old Nokia phone.
In 2020, more than 50 percent of businesses moved their workloads to the cloud. It will go down in history as the year many businesses had to completely rethink how they operated and the reorientation happened almost overnight.
If you have a premise-based phone system and have been struggling with remote worker access to the office phone system, expensive conference call or an inability to collaborate in real time, it may be time to move to a cloud communications platform. Read on to find out why this could be a great move for your company.
What is Cloud Communication?
Gone are the days when a remote employee needed a company mobile phone. With cloud communications, phone calls, email, and video conferencing are simple and can all be done from a desktop or laptop computer. They can also be utilized as apps that run on a personal mobile device. These once singular communication platforms are now available on one network.
For your business to be successful in 2021 and beyond, your employees need to communicate quickly and efficiently, share files on demand, and video conference as easily as making phone calls. This is why cloud communications (or unified communications or UCaaS) has become critical business infrastructure.
You might think of infrastructure as roads, bridges, water, and electricity. But business infrastructure is what keeps your business operating and helps you gain a competitive edge. Speed and flexibility in communications are crucial to a winning work environment and delivering a high-quality customer experience. Cloud communications platforms enable your company to work more efficiently and effectively, regardless of size or location.
But more specifically, here are four reasons why cloud communications should be thought of not as a luxury but as an essential 21st Century business infrastructure.
1. Remote Working and Hiring
Working from home is no longer a luxury. According to Buffer, 97.6 percent of workers would like the option of working at home some of the time. It pays to have the best available communications platform in place so not matter where the employee is working, they can be connected to the business comms infrastructure. Your workers and co-workers can work from anywhere, anytime, on any device, provided they have an internet connection.
With local and state lockdowns changing the landscape of how we work, this has never been more important. Cloud communications offer virtual workstations, meaning you can hire remote workers without purchasing and shipping expensive hardware and accessories. Being hundreds of miles apart is no longer an operational issue.
Operating your company on cloud communications software and platforms is also a huge bonus for hiring and talent management. Instead of being confined to compete for talent only in your local area, you can hire talented individuals from anywhere since you’re running on cloud communications solutions.
2. Productivity, Teamwork, and Collaboration
Teams, particularly hybrid and remote teams, can collaborate better using the cloud. As we just noted, employees spend well over half their time each week reading and answering emails, searching for and gathering information, and communicating or collaborating internally.
But even worse, they do these time-intensive tasks across multiple programs and software. This “platform-switching” and the disconnect between systems is a root cause of inefficiency in the workplace.
Companies can no longer afford such inefficiencies from a financial, productivity, and customer experience standpoint. Cloud communications platforms are designed to reduce switching between platforms and streamline crucial everyday tasks.
From document storage, real-time collaboration, and file sharing to instant messaging and video conferencing, your employees are empowered to do their best work free of typical limitations and speed bumps.
With a cloud solution like Microsoft Teams, employees no longer have to:
- Sift through network folders trying to find the most up-to-date documents
- Email asking for files that are saved on someone else’s desktop
- Send “I have a quick question” emails
- Ask others for siloed data, documents, or information
- Make edits to a document, then email it, then ask for the newest version back.
Plus, as we’ve noted, the functionality and capabilities cloud platforms offer are a must-have for hybrid and fully remote organizations.
Cloud-based software and platforms have a distinct edge over on-premises solutions in terms of scalability.
Imagine wanting to implement new software with on-premise servers? You’d have to call someone out (which could take weeks), then install it, get it up and running, test and retest, then roll it out to your company bit by bit. To scale up, you’d also have to purchase new hardware (or remove hardware to scale down). This archaic process wastes time, money, and limits employee productivity.
In a cloud communications platform, adding new resources, functionality or users can be done in a fraction of the time. Cloud communications platforms, like Microsoft Teams, are designed to keep your team agile.
Plus, all maintenance, updates, additions, and security are handled by the cloud provider. You don’t have to hire a new employee or spend time and money upskilling a current team member to do the job.
4. Customer Experience
The companies that will win the battle for customer acquisition in this decade will be the ones who can deliver the most personalized and high-quality customer experience. There are two components of cloud communications platforms we’ve already touched on that can give companies the edge.
- The elimination of “siloes,” making customer data easily accessible to all team members.
- An array of communication channels makes sending said data, sharing files, or meeting with customers a faster, more relevant experience.
Think about what makes for a bad customer experience:
- Long wait times.
- Having to repeat information repeatedly.
- Having to fill out a form or email someone and wait for a response.
Cloud platforms help open up platforms for customers to interact with your team in a meaningful way. They also eliminate internal obstacles to ensure your teams have the tools to respond quickly and comprehensively to customer requests and questions.
Solidify Your Critical Business Infrastructure
When it comes to company productivity and customer experience, the stakes are too high to continually suffer through operational issues caused by platform switching and siloed information. You need your team operating at their best with the tools and data they require at their fingertips.
Migrating to a cloud-based communications platform does come with its own costs. But the long-term gain that’s achievable from having all your communications tools, data, and employees in one platform far outweigh the initial financial and time investment to make the switch.
So what’s your next step?
We’d recommend checking out this in-depth guide on cloud-based and unified communications: 10 Questions to Ask Before Buying Unified Communications as a Service.
This guide will help you evaluate cloud and unified communications providers and ensure you know the right questions to ask so you can make the best decision for your company.