Many companies are switching from a premises-based phone system to hosted voice, or cloud-based unified communication (UC) solution. Some companies are still considering the switch or planning to make a change but haven’t made the leap yet. The main reason organizations decide to convert include an interest in adding new features, equipment end of life, or a new workspace.
Once thought of as a side benefit, resiliency for disaster recovery and business continuity planning (DRBC) has moved to the front of the line as a valuable reason to convert UC to the cloud. Here are five reasons why.
The possibility of direct disaster involvement
The building or location where a premise phone system and its traditional, circuit-switched telephone network may be involved in a disaster and unable to continue running. Typical examples include weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes and floods. Obviously, earthquakes and fire can damage a facility and render it useless for the phone service. Often overlooked are disasters like pandemics that do not affect the building directly, but make the facility unusable for people. Even the loss of standard utilities like water service or heating/AC can hinder the ability to continue operations. Having the UC services in the cloud, in perhaps many geo-diverse locations (usually separate from the users) is a main advantage over premise-based systems. It’s unlikely that a disaster event will affect both the business location and the cloud system(s).
More remote work
With the increase in remote work, phone system users are now as likely to be outside a central office building during normal business operations. In a disaster situation, they may be scattered to recovery locations or their homes. Accessing a premise-based system outside the building might be difficult, if not impossible. UC in the cloud is designed to be accessed from anywhere.
Internet access at higher speeds, while not available everywhere, is still more widely available than at any time in history. Many team members may already have high bandwidth capabilities in their homes. The implementation of an expensive work-group recovery center is not needed. With cloud-based UC, employees can access they system with their Internet connection.
Sophisticated phone and UC features
Sophisticated features, such as automatic call distribution (ACD), call center functionality, Interactive voice response (IVR), computer telephone integration (CTI), call coverage, are all available in cloud-based implementations and transfer almost seamlessly to a remote scattered workforce. Integration with other office applications like email, scheduling, instant messaging, conferencing and workflow automation is easier in UC cloud environments.
Potential regulatory requirements
There may be an increase in compliance requirements for businesses to provide the ability to continue operations outside of the main facility. Having a DR plan for UC in the cloud may not be a luxury in the future. Owners, investors, bankers, regulators, and governments may demand these capabilities. Having services in the cloud for production operations makes a conversion to remote much easier and seamless.
Recent events may have enticed business leaders to consider cloud-based unified communication sooner. Many providers from different industries — telephone companies, locally managed service providers or independent consultants — are available and willing to help. They will design, build, and implement a sophisticated cloud-based unified communications solution to help improve your current business operations. More importantly, they can help provide business continuity in even the toughest circumstances.
Horizon understands that each business has different needs. Learn more about Horizon’s business phone system offerings and Horizon Hosted Voice.