27 Feb 2017 – Written for EOH Technology Solutions by Tamsin Oxford.
Pieter Bos, Senior Systems Engineer, EOH Technology Solutions.
Imagine corporate communications that can transverse locations, adapt to different situations or demands on a whim, and at an impressively low price tag. This is unified communications structured within the cloud. It’s sleek, seamless and adaptable. Organisations don’t need to invest in hardware or technical solutions; there’s no need to hire skilled staff or invest in regular training, and they reap all the rewards without any of the hard work.
The service provider takes on the tin while ensuring the security and managing the services. It’s a win-win proposition that’s rapidly enchanting the South African market, and, for EOH, is a space in which it has allowed for unified communications to flourish.
“Within the cloud environment, unified communications provide the organisation with a whole realm of communication solutions, all brought together in a single space,” explains Pieter Bos, Senior Systems Engineer, EOH Technology Solutions. “It gives the customer the power and ability to provision, select and adapt services in accordance with demand, and this saves them significantly in terms of both time and money.”
Unified communications within the cloud gives the organisation the flexibility to communicate in different ways over different communication channels, and in a variety of creative ways. This ubiquity is driving enterprise adoption and seeing it increasingly form part of the corporate culture, in much the same way that social media has formed part of the lifestyle culture.
“Originally, communication tools and methodologies were hardware and systems that had to be maintained and managed, impacting on the organisation’s focus on its core business,” adds Bos. “We believe that it isn’t the organisation’s job to maintain communications; it should be up to the service provider. It should follow the same seamless path as other services, such as finance – we don’t create our own banks, so why do the same with communication systems?”
Think back on the old dial telephone, it used to be one of the only ways of communicating across building, business and client. It resided on the desk and that was the end-device. The users didn’t care about the exchange system behind it, they just wanted it to work. The same principle should be applied to all forms of communication – the business should not be forced to create and maintain its own systems.
“By entering a cloud-based unified communications strategy, the organisation moves away from capital and energy expenditure and towards reduced opex and system maintenance,” says Bos. “The business may not have ownership of the technology, but it has all the advantages of the service at a reduced cost. In addition to that, there’s no need to handle the administrative burden that comes with owning a communications system – the licensing, admin and upgrades are all the responsibility of the service provider.”
Many of these benefits are the same when applied to any cloud-based solution. Improved security, less capex, more services – so, what is unique about the cloud when it comes to unified communications?
“The cloud allows for businesses to establish unified communications solutions that reach across branches, work spaces and countries,” says Bos. “Employees in remote or collaborative environments, or branches based in remote areas, can all be connected thanks to the ubiquity of the cloud. It doesn’t matter where a base is installed, communications are viable and available.”
The cloud has liberated communications from the boundaries of the enterprise and transformed it into an application that’s unfettered and eminently scalable. If a customer needs a new call centre for a campaign with an anticipated influx of millions of calls, they no longer have to cater for it with agents, a building and costly kit. Instead they need only pay as they grow, and pay as they go.
“Clients can select the type of service they need and adapt it to their business requirements,” concludes Bos. “They have the scalability to increase or decrease the service levels on demand, and they have access to instant capacity and capability. No more premised solutions that need licences, large budgets and long-term fiscal weight. This is the true value of putting unified communications into the cloud.”