Cloud Communications

Cloud Communications – A Business Guide

It’s inevitable that your traditional, trusted phone system will eventually show signs of age or weakness. Perhaps it isn’t flexible enough to keep up with the needs of your business as you add branch offices or move applications to the cloud, or is becoming unreliable with more dropped calls and degrading call quality. Cloud communications could be the answer.

Reliability is key

In fact, 17% of small businesses say that reliability is a key reason they begin looking for a new phone system. Other companies simply outgrow the one they’ve got. According to Software Advice, 14% of small businesses are seeking more functionality, and 15% say they need a system that can keep up with their growth.

If any of this sounds familiar, it may be time to consider replacing your phone system. And if supporting growth, seasonal variations or reducing costs are among your top goals, your best options may reside in the cloud.

Cloud-based phone systems can make your business more agile, flexible and innovative, even while they offer reliability at less cost. In addition, they can provide you with a competitive advantage by providing greater access to the latest innovative features.

But the flexibility and array of available features sometimes make choosing a cloud-based system challenging. So let’s look at some benefits and consider a few questions you should ask when determining whether the cloud is the right solution for your business.

The top benefits of a cloud-based phone system

  • More value for your investment: A cloud-phone system can lower your costs without sacrificing the features your company needs. There are no long-distance charges, for example, and maintenance and installation fees are either very low or nonexistent. For growing firms trying to maximize cash flow, these features can be game-changing
  • Fewer IT resources: Not only does a cloud phone system eliminate the need for onsite equipment, it also allows your IT team to focus on business initiatives rather than get mired in telecommunications support requests.
  • Greater administrative flexibility: A cloud phone system simplifies administration. You can change answering rules, access voicemail and view call activity anywhere there’s an Internet connection.
  • Increase productivity by adding apps: Cloud communications can make your business nimble and relevant. Integrate your CRM into your phone system and give employees faster access to customer intelligence – then sit back and watch customer satisfaction soar. Or, enable mobility apps so that remote workers can access the same features their colleagues at headquarters do, such as phone directories, calendaring, and desktop and Web sharing. Also applications served from the cloud can be turned on and off as a monthly subscription for individuals or groups within the enterprise and for seasonal employees you may add during the year.

How to know if a cloud phone system is for you

While many businesses benefit from cloud communications, certain situations indicate a clear need to either make the wholesale switch to the cloud or incorporate cloud services into your existing communications network through a hybrid deployment. Answer yes to any of these questions, and it’s likely a cloud-based phone system will be the answer to you’re looking for.

  • Is your business in growth mode?
  • Do you need more flexibility to adapt to seasonal or changing conditions?
  • Do you consider your phone system to be mission-critical for your business?
  • Are you losing valuable IT time to phone system support?
  • Do you need better data about your call center to improve productivity?

If you think cloud communications might be right for your business, ShoreTel’s eBook, Business Guide to Cloud Communications, covers benefits and questions in greater detail. It identifies the top ways your small business can gain value from a cloud-based phone system, with each chapter taking an in-depth look at the technology’s features.

Talk to us today to learn more about how cloud communications might benefit your company.