According to a recent report from the Cloud Industry Forum, 84% of organisations in the UK now use cloud technology in their digital makeup, and around two-thirds of respondents planned to move their IT and telecoms services entirely into the cloud soon.
One of the driving forces behind this enormous uptake has been the increasingly widespread access to superfast broadband, which enables businesses to capitalise on cloud. The adoption of cloud and ‘hosted’ technology shows no sign of slowing down as more and more businesses begin to see the benefits. Particularly for companies with growth in mind, a flexible hosted telephony solution can offer many advantages, especially given the low upfront costs of hosted communications packages.
So, how can hosted telephony help your business grow?
Flexible, productive workforce
Traditionally, companies had a desk-based approach to their staff that tied them to the office and restricted their chances of being competitive. Today, hosted phone systems are helping businesses across the UK to enable a more mobile, flexible workforce – one that can provide the same communications experience no matter what location they are in, or how they choose to work. Flexible workplaces have proven to have benefits for productivity, and can be an attractive model for employees.
Some hosted solutions come with a softphone application, that lets users make calls using their laptop. Mobile apps are also available, allowing employees to use their own mobile phones which stay linked to a central phone system for a consistent customer experience.
With some hosted solutions, call recording can also be included in the monthly licence fee. This means statistics on a particular employee’s ability to handle calls are readily available, helping with resource management. This is very useful for companies with customer care at the top of their priority list.
Hosted telephony is provided as a service, so businesses pay a monthly subscription instead of a one-off purchase fee. Shifting to an operational expenditure system like this allows businesses to control their costs easily, as their subscription can be altered to accommodate changing requirements.
For instance, a call centre which handles more traffic at a certain time of year (such as a sales centre around Christmas, or a University during clearing) could simply add extra licences during its busy period, and remove them afterwards. This modular flexibility lets businesses maintain the exact service they need from month to month, which is tremendously useful and cost-effective.
Effective disaster recovery
There are many reasons why you might need to relocate your business calls quickly, and business continuity can be a big concern for many companies. Traditional, on-site phone systems are at risk of being affected by any major event that happens on site. Not so with a hosted telephony solution, though, since the call routing is all handled remotely. All you have to do is log in at your new location, and you’re up and running. This lets businesses bounce back quickly during a disaster, minimising downtime and loss of productivity.
Ready for the future
In 2025 the UK’s entire ISDN network will be disconnected, which means that sooner or later every business will need to think about an alternative solution. Hosted telephony is a great and affordable alternative, and investing in a hosted communications package allows businesses to stay flexible and competitive whilst boosting productivity. The minimal capital costs of a hosted solution make it a strong choice for many businesses.
The steadily-growing popularity of hosted telephony proves that when it comes to business telecoms, it makes perfect sense to have your head in the cloud.
Gemma Maroney is a hosted communications specialist at business telephony experts, Solution IP.