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Cost centre or productivity platform? Why Australian companies should embrace cloud based communications applications in 2019 and beyond

Begun migrating your organisation’s communications applications to the cloud yet? If not, it’s likely you’re thinking about it.

A recent survey of global telecoms providers by Broadcom found more than half of the businesses they service were expected to have adopted cloud communications by 2020.

In Australia, it’s a trend that’s been gathering pace for several years.

Back in 2015, telecommunications research consultancy Telsyte predicted the Australian market for cloud communications would exceed $650 million by 2020, as businesses swapped inhouse Private Branch Exchange (PBX) equipment for softphones, cloud and mobile apps.

Helping drive uptake was the expanding range of options from traditional telcos and non-telco service providers, along with the emerging perception communications should be viewed as a productivity platform rather than a cost centre, according to Telsyte.

Not convinced it’s worthwhile making the switch? Here are five reasons cloud-based communications applications are good for Australian businesses (and even better for the bottom line).

Spend less, do more

For decades, the PBX phone system has been the communications backbone in thousands of Australian companies. It’s technology that’s generally robust, reliable – and basic. Voice mail and call forwarding represent the extent of the ‘bells and whistles’ enjoyed by employees in the average organisation; with advanced features such as mobile apps and auto attendant capabilities out of reach for the majority. Move to the cloud and it’s a very different story. The model affords companies of modest dimensions access to advanced features, such as remote access, which can have a significant impact on productivity. Making the switch means spending less and getting more: a compelling value proposition for organisations of all sizes.

Maintenance free communication

Not having to purchase and maintain infrastructure is one of the cloud computing model’s key selling points. Companies can ditch the inhouse data centre, with its high upfront and ongoing costs, in favour of a subscription-based set-up with monthly fees that can be treated as operational expenses. It’s the same situation when it comes to PBX equipment versus cloud communications applications. The PBX server, with its attendant maintenance expenses, is replaced by a consistent monthly fee for service, with upgrades and maintenance included in the package. It’s a vastly simpler way of doing things which can free IT staff up to work on value-adding business initiatives, rather than having to troubleshoot the phones.

Stronger relationships with customers

In many organisations, communication with customers was a siloed affair, historically. Account managers formed links with key individuals, dealt with them primarily via mobile telephone and, more often than not, took the substance of the relationship with them when they moved on.

Cloud communications solutions allow organisations to take control of these relationships and ensure they’re nurtured and maintained. They can provide improved visibility of communications inside and outside the enterprise; making it possible for replacement employees to slip seamlessly into the breach when client facing staff leave or are reassigned.

Scaling to suit

Successful companies are rarely static in size. More often than not, they’re in growth mode and need infrastructure and facilities which can expand apace. That’s just what traditional on-premises telecoms systems can’t do. Their capacity is finite and companies which anticipate future growth are required to invest in excess capacity upfront, or face the expensive and disruptive prospect of replacing relatively new systems when they outgrow them.

This issue disappears when enterprises invest in cloud communications solutions. Companies only pay for the capacity they need and systems can be altered and expanded with ease – some providers even offer self-service models to speed the process.

It’s also curtains for the capital expenditure associated with on-premises solutions and the ongoing expense of inhouse technicians and support staff to manage and maintain them.

Unified communications across the enterprise

Back in the day, communication came in two forms – the phone call and the written word. It’s much more complex in 2019, with video conferencing, SMS and group messaging thrown into the mix. Migrating to the cloud allows organisations to draw these disparate channels together to create a unified communications experience which delivers significant value. One way this value can be realised is through the use of analytics software to develop ‘pools’ of shared knowledge about partners and customers which can be exploited to increase sales, reduce churn and enhance the customer experience.

Time to act

What was a pioneering move a few short years ago, has fast become a necessity, as Australian companies collectively adopt cloud computing and communications applications across the enterprise. The business benefits of doing so are manifest – and organisations which are slow to the party may find themselves at significant competitive disadvantage.

About to author

Brendan Maree, Vice President Asia Pacific, 8×8

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Brendan Maree

Brendan Maree

Brendan Maree is the Vice President and Country Manager ANZ, at ProHance. He has more than 25 years’ experience in the IT industry during which time he has played critical roles in accelerating revenue, driving strategic recruitment, engaging with telecom operators, and establishing new partnerships. Prior, he was Vice President at 8x8 for more than five years during which time he accelerated revenue and recruited new partners while nurturing a high-performing team. He also worked for more than ten years at Interactive Intelligence in several senior positions and, earlier in his career, was Channel Manager for SMB products at Avaya

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