Why SMBs are opting for Cloud-based Voice
Written by Neil Hutchinson
Co-Founder & Director
Tel: 0330 055 3570
As a Business Communications specialist, I’ve seen a great deal of change over the years as new trends have emerged and grown. Despite our 70 combined years of working with Voice, Unified Communications (UC), IT and Connectivity technologies – when we first launched Everything Voice in 2011, admittedly my founding partner and I hadn’t prioritised cloud-based solutions as part of our proposition. We knew they were growing in popularity but to be honest, we felt some of the claims of how they surpassed a traditional on-premise Voice and UC solution were unrealistic, and in many cases, unqualified. More recently, as hosted communications have continued to advance, it is clear they now offer obvious benefits to certain types of organisation – yet for many, these are still not fully understood.
As a business, we have become advocates of new ways of working and with the need to offer a comprehensive portfolio of Communications solutions, we have found that Hosted Voice and UC is not actually competing against on-premise, but in fact it very much complements our existing on-premise options to allow us to offer the best solution for each organisation we work with.
When Cloud Voice first appeared, its creators were quick to highlight its benefits over an on-premise platform, which included enhanced resiliency and disaster recovery features; no expensive hardware support; no expensive upgrades required; and a highly flexible solution which enables remote or mobile working. This sounded like a pretty revolutionary proposition when it first hit the market, however these advantages don’t necessarily differentiate it from an on-premise solution in the present day.
Infact, on-premise technology has moved on significantly in the last five years, typically deployed as a software-based solution on virtualised servers – either hosted on a customer’s own infrastructure or in their service provider’s Data Centre. It supports both home-based and mobile working in the same way as cloud-based solutions do and takes very little time and effort to support (there’s certainly far less, if any, telephone system hardware involved anymore).
So how do you decide which solution best fits your business?
Whilst it still stands that cloud-based Voice & UC has exceptional disaster recovery capabilities, doesn’t require a costly maintenance contract and comes with free upgrades – there are other reasons that make it the solution of choice for many SMBs today.
Lets say you’re a business with a good quality, resilient IT infrastructure. You backup all of your critical services and data either onsite or even better offsite. You had your last telephone system for 10 years which was supported in-house. So why wouldn’t you continue to implement an on-premise solution with cloud backup? It would be virtualised so there’s no expensive telephone system maintenance needed and your technical team have the skills to support it in-house. You have an initial costly outlay, but you will own it and within 3-4 years it will have started to cost you less than the equivalent ‘pay-as-you-go’ monthly solution would.
On the other hand, your IT infrastructure hasn’t been built to support your own voice system reliably and there’s no disaster recovery system in place for your communications. You may have the need for some flexibility to support the changing needs of the business, yet you know it was very complicated to adapt the last on-premise system you deployed to meet these ongoing needs. The need to upgrade your on-premise solution drained your budget and if you’re to get the most out of your new solution, you will need to implement mobile apps and homeworking features which will require in-house IT knowledge and experience that may not be currently available to you.
In a case such as the latter – a cloud-based solution will provide the full package – both the infrastructure you require; comprehensive Disaster Recovery; continual upgrades to keep the technology current; and the additional technical support needed to enable your home and mobile workers to communicate more effectively. Now – it is in this scenario – that it makes sense on both a practical and financial level to consider Hosted Voice & UC.
Whilst there is a place for both types of solution in the market – these respond to very different needs and so it is getting to grips with both the technical and cost implications of each solution, against the on-going objectives of your business that will help you establish the right solution. The evidence shows that growth in hosted voice users is outpacing on-premise user sales by a significant margin, which cannot be ignored and I believe is a direct result of the positive experience SMBs are seeing of hosted services across the board.
In the world of technology, nothing is black and white. What is essential when you’re looking to select the best solution for your business is to speak with experienced professionals who are qualified to offer an un-biased point of view. A service provider who sells both on-premise and hosted communications is perfectly placed to help you establish the best option for your business.
For more information and some impartial advice on how to maxmise your communications budget, please contact Everything Voice and we would be happy to help: