Making a case for Cloud Communications
Note: This blog originally appeared on our partner 8X8’s website as 5 Steps to Get a “Yes!” for a Cloud Communications Business Case.
Business cases can be a vast, complex undertaking. However, the key is like any team sport: practice often puts you in the best position for a winning outcome. Although you may fully know the differences between on-premises vs. cloud solutions, it is still essential to understand all the benefits when building a case for cloud communications.
To help you get started, here are five topics to consider that will help you maximize cultural buy-in for your cloud communication solution.
Cloud Communications Help Improve Client Experience
To improve in this area, you must first know where you are today. It’s important to have visibility into all communication touchpoints and an understanding of the client experience at each one. That way, you can quantify the impact of improving their experience.
When building your case, you must demonstrate the positive effects of client experience improvements. Unfortunately, this is where the details can get fuzzy. To guide your thinking on this topic, here are a few questions to consider:
- Would a complete staff directory help increase call capacity and reduce wait times without adding more resources?
- Does customer sentiment analysis help by focusing resources on outcomes most relevant to clients?
- How do resource utilization reports increase the value of critical metrics?
- Can specific and relevant annotated call recordings improve staff training?
- How would analytics and reporting that support resource balancing with activity levels drive efficiency gains, cost improvements, and enhanced customer experiences?
- What is the impact of automating high volume and routine calls?
Often, organizations use multiple systems and applications to enable staff to engage customers and collaborate with colleagues. Unfortunately, managing this portfolio can lead to intense “platform fatigue” as people struggle to keep up with training and maintenance.
It’s pivotal to show that any proposed solution is easier to implement and maintain than your current system – both in terms of financial and cognitive resources. Here are some considerations to ask yourself when building your case:
- Can older desk phones be used, or are new ones required?
- Are softphones with a mobile app eliminating the need for physical ones?
- Can staff use their mobile devices safely and securely?
- How much time do we need to onboard new users?
- What is the impact on the IT help desk of rolling out the latest cloud communications apps?
- Would a single application reduce the burden on IT staff?
- Could one application for all communication channels improve staff productivity?
- Could consolidating those individual subscriptions to a single subscription save costs?
Enable The Hybrid Workforce
It’s no secret that many organizations are now implementing hybrid workplace models. For support, these companies need solutions that work on any device with a consistent experience across softphone, PC/Mac, iOS and Android mobile applications, and IP handsets. Also, these applications must work with phone numbers if the users plan to work remotely.
With the new push towards remote work, your case must reveal how the solution enables employees to securely communicate and collaborate from wherever they are – both in terms of speed and quality. Here are some questions to consider:
- How will cloud communications impact the network? Will this over-the-top (OTT) service demand additional network capacity?
- What current video meeting solution does your company use that enables employees to engage with customers and other employees quickly?
- What messaging capabilities are in place today to support digital channels, and how can they deliver better customer experiences?
- Can all staff work remotely, and are they provided a professional phone number?
- How are communications for common areas handled today?
- Is international calling needed for each role?
- How long will it take to run both systems in parallel to enable a smooth transition?
Integrating With Existing Platforms
Many organizations leveraged Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams during the pandemic to quickly adjust to internal remote work. However, using Teams effectively also requires collaboration with external parties, such as clients and partners. Features like switchboards, contact centers, and external digital assistants are commonplace to provide this seamless integration.
When considering this area in your case, consider the ease of integration with Microsoft Teams to ensure that it remains at the center of collaboration. Here, note that all integrations are not equal. Using a cloud-to-cloud integration with Microsoft should be favoured over more basic direct routing, where traditional SIP trunking and potentially on-premises SBC’s would be required. Some questions to think about:
- What are your licensing costs to provide voice services for Microsoft Teams users?
- What are the cost implications of being able to use a Microsoft Teams certified integration partner?
- Would a platform with the ability to include business communications and a contact center in a single integration save time and money from the outset?
Out of all the benefits of cloud communications, this is perhaps the most important. After all, you are only as secure as your weakest link.
Thankfully, today’s providers are required to follow some very stringent security standards. They must have Tier 1 data centers (more than one) where geographically redundant data traffic routing provides at least 99.99% uptime as part of a contractual SLA for business communications and contact centers. In addition, call quality SLAs (service-level agreements) must offer (mean opinion scores) MOS levels of 3.0 or greater.
Of course, this is in addition to accreditations like SOC II that must be in place to ensure compliance with local or regional regulations. Here are a couple of questions to think about when considering security:
- What’s the cost of having to conduct multiple security audits to cover different applications?
- Does managing the security and compliance of a single provider deliver cost savings vs. managing multiple suppliers?
Unfortunately, many questions are often left out or not given sufficient attention. The result is a business case that only looks at infrastructure and related costs, not the complete picture.
There are also additional topics that may be relevant, depending on the organization:
- Activity and Service Level Agreement implications
- Physical handset rationalization
- Environmental Impact
The Complete Case For Cloud Communication Adoption
When considering adopting cloud communications, there is a lot to think through. However, going through the entire thought process ensures a thorough evaluation of your current communications strategy. It also gives you the confidence that the business case decision has a solid analytical foundation.
With the hybrid workforce model now firmly in place, the need for better client experience, simple management, remote-friendly capabilities, seamless integration and unified security has never been greater. Isn’t it time you received more from your communication solutions?