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Transitioning to a Cloud Phone System


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3 min read

Is transitioning to the cloud a business altering decision? Absolutely, and it can save your IT team money and energy. In this video featuring Gartner, the future of cloud phone systems is discussed. Daniel O’Connell, Research Director at Gartner, discusses how companies can transition from an on-premise PBX system to the cloud. He also discusses the benefits of a BYOD policy in the workplace. Kira Makagon, EVP of Innovation at RingCentral, shares her perspective on cloud communications and why BYOD is the future for businesses everywhere.

Daniel O’Connell starts with some benefits of a cloud phone system as opposed to an on-premise PBX system. He says that with cloud communications, the reliability is much higher with backup power, redundant network services and backup platforms. In case the primary data center goes down, a backup will be there with no disturbance to the end user.

There is also the benefit of the operational expenditure model meaning that companies pay per user per month. This is a more efficient financial model for companies than compared to those using a PBX system. With a PBX system, a massive amount of money is put up front and can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintain as it gets older. Smaller and distributed office locations benefit the most from this cloud financial model. With cloud, every employee gets equal access to the same kinds of communication capabilities, meaning a lot more normalization across all locations. By that, it provides quality service that is reliable across all locations, both in office and remote, and provides each employee with access to the same breadth of communication.

Cloud providers also add new features and functions every 3 to 5 months. This is in stark contrast to PBX systems that stay the same through the years. This makes the PBX system extremely outdated in a short period of time compared to the cloud phone system.

The IT administrators at companies also get a lot more convenience with a cloud system. By simply clicking into a portal they can make technology fixes and updates, pay bills, manage new and existing users, etc. Employees, or end users, can also utilize this portal; however, their access to sensitive information may be limited depending on their administrator privileges. In that sense, the IT workload is much easier to manage and more capable in the cloud.

BYOD means that each employee is assigned a single telephone number that connects to multiple devices such as a mobile phone, tablet, softphone, etc. The main benefits of BYOD are expertise and ease. Most employees are experts at using their own devices, which means they require minimum training and can hit the ground running. This creates a single, unified workflow from many different devices.

Kira Makagon then gives her expert opinion on cloud phone systems and BYOD. Makagon says that mobile cloud communication is more reliable than on-premise PBX systems and can be counted on when unexpected events occur. For example, during a natural disaster such as a hurricane, a PBX system would most certainly shut down and cease to function, making it impossible for employees to communicate. However, with a cloud phone system, companies never have to worry about communication shutting down, because everything is stored in the cloud.

Cloud communication works with the BYOD movement because both are mobile-first. Routing features allow employees to take the calls that they want from the mobile device of their choice, leading to greater flexibility for workers. Businesses want to come across as a unified entity with single E-mail, single URL and single identity across all communications. With modern mobile devices, a company now has the freedom and unification that a traditional PBX system could not possibly provide.

Switching to the cloud saves an average of 50-60% for companies. On-premise PBX phone systems rely on external technicians for all servicing and maintenance, which gets expensive. A PBX system that goes down and requires a technician can cost the company hundreds or even thousands of dollars in lost business. With a cloud phone system, on going costs can be managed more readily by enabling what the business needs as it scales. This avoids huge expansion fees for only a few users and controls ongoing costs. [Check out our Cost Calculator to see how much your business could save by switching to RingCentral, or view our plans and pricing guide.]

Workers no longer have to be chained to their desks. One-click business conferencing can establish a multi-party video or audio conference call from any device, anywhere—even when driving. With traditional PBX systems, employees had very little control over their own phone, preferences and capabilities. Now, employees can configure their own personalized messages, routing sequences and usage rules. Nowadays, with employees constantly on the go, a cloud phone system accompanied by a BYOD policy is the best and most adaptable business model for any company.

Originally published Sep 04, 2014, updated Aug 12, 2020

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