Businesses cannot afford to stand still if they want to maintain their competitive advantage. Today’s success stories can suddenly become tomorrow’s has-beens if they fail to evolve. That’s why the cloud is so compelling – it provides companies with an ideal platform for change, not just at the operational level but also when it comes to strategy and decision-making.
Cost-cutting and efficiency are still important drivers behind most cloud implementations, but market leaders are thinking bigger and embracing the power of choice that the technology affords them. Cloud-based UC in particular empowers businesses to build their ideal IT system, one that serves the unique needs of their employees so they can deliver on their promises as an organization.
This new wave of cloud technologies has energized the Unified Communications market, inspiring companies to invest in UC as a means to transform the way they work. By some estimates, UC sales in America will grow at a compound annual rate of 20.5% over the next five years, driven in large part by the adoption of cloud-based systems.
Here are a few reasons for this surge:
Pay for what you need
For many companies, the biggest advantage of cloud-based UC is that they only need to pay for the functionality they want. When investing in on-premise systems, IT leaders feel pressure to buy all of their applications from a single vendor so they can avoid complex integrations and keep costs down, but today’s cloud solutions are all about choice and flexibility.
Users can mix-and-match best-in-breed solutions from different suppliers, working with integration specialists to make sure all the pieces fit together seamlessly. Instead of being penalized for building a custom system, they are being empowered to choose a configuration that gives them the best of all worlds.
The right tools, at your fingertips
Every employee uses technology differently. For example, HR directors tend to want simple, user-friendly interfaces, while web developers need greater control and visibility into the applications they use.
The challenge is that businesses who go on-premise need to buy a solution that meets the criteria of their most demanding users, even if these only make up a small percentage of their workforce. Meanwhile, other departments are stuck working with complex applications that only partially serve their needs, an approach that is not only expensive but causes confusion and limits their productivity.
The cloud allows companies to put the right tools in each user’s hand, with the right functionality, so they can be as productive as they need to be. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, businesses can tailor their UC applications to each person’s preferences, from simple interfaces for non-IT workers to high-performance specs for advanced users.
Adapt quickly and stand out
Finally, the cloud helps businesses to act fast and roll out new services more quickly, giving them a crucial advantage in an ultra-competitive market. Changes and upgrades to the cloud are integrated instantly, which makes companies more agile by allowing them to constantly test, analyze, and optimize their services in real-time.
This is a major step forward from on-premise solutions, which are slow to install and upgrade, and which require companies to deliberate for weeks or months before making any significant changes. This way of working stifles innovation rather than inspiring progress, and makes it difficult for companies to take risks or set themselves apart.
Look beyond the obvious
Cloud UC opens the door to major opportunities, but these are by no means automatic. Businesses must look beyond simple infrastructure improvements and ask themselves how the cloud can help them gain a competitive advantage.
Think back to when Amazon launched the Echo speaker in 2014. It sold well, but the real star was Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant. Amazon caught on quickly and doubled down on Alexa, making it the most recognized voice in a multibillion-dollar industry. The same goes for smartphones. Call quality is the least important consideration for people choosing between an iPhone, Galaxy, or Google device. Instead, manufacturers fight each other on features, from camera quality and screen resolution, to games and fitness trackers.
The cloud’s applications are much broader than those of a smartphone or voice assistant, but the principle still holds. Cloud UC reduces IT costs and speeds up processes, but the real magic happens when companies use it to build on what’s unique to their organization. With adoption on the rise, the stage is set for businesses to tap into what truly set them apart.
There has never been a better time to kick off your cloud journey and uncover new ways to differentiate yourself. We’re here to help. Click here to find out more.