What are cloud services?Cloud services is the term used for data and voice communications which are hosted on large-scale servers accessed via the internet, rather than directly on local servers, computers or telephone systems.
How does it work?
Cloud services include hosted telephony, which enables voice calls to be carried over the internet in the same way as data. You could also offset your Microsoft Office to the cloud, using Office 365; access your documents from anywhere in the world. You make calls, send emails and create documents and files in the usual way, but the applications, switching and storage live ‘in the cloud’ (on the internet) rather than on a hard drive on your PC, a data server in your office or a PBX network. You’re connected to everything via high-speed broadband internet.
What are the business benefits?
Cloud computing and telephony frees up businesses of all sizes and sectors to interact freely with their staff, customers and suppliers without worrying about cost, location, different time zones and all the other factors that can create friction and slow down communications.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but you’re probably safer accessing your cloud data from your phone than you would be if it was stored on a local server or PBX situated next to your desk. That’s because cloud telephony providers normally guarantee uptime of close to 100%, and have to maintain international security compliance for their data centres and infrastructure.
Grows with your business
You may start out as a one-man or -woman band, but within a couple of years you’re employing ten people and opening another office, then ten years later you have 100 staff and ten locations. No problem. With high speed broadband, there’s no limit to your connectivity. The cloud system you began your business with can grow with you as your business expands, just by adding new functionality into your existing platform – such as conference calling, virtual landlines, call transfer and group settings.
Some of the most sought-after companies to work for are the ones that give their people the flexibility to work in different ways. Your teams don’t always have to sit in the same room – some may be home-based or part-time, other may work in completely different locations. Working in the cloud means you can have team meetings via video conferencing and still look your colleagues in the eye.
Cloud services offer ‘presence information’ – a literal status symbol that lets you know when your team-mates are available online and available to deal with customers or other calls. Confident routing of enquiries to ‘live’ operators or advisers means your customers won’t be hanging around waiting for help.
Cut costs and hassle
Unlike PBX systems, there’s no need to shell out for expensive in-house infrastructure that needs regular maintenance and upgrading every few years thanks to obsolete hardware. There are no discs to be filled and no limit on the amount of call data you can hold. Employees can work just as easily on their mobiles as they can on their landlines.
Integration and analytics
Cloud-based systems can integrate with your other business management and CRM applications, giving you real insight into the efficiency and productivity of all parts of your business. Customer behaviour, team performance, call types and more can all be measured and analysed using data securely held in the cloud.
If the worst happens and your offices are burgled, flooded or burned down, you can rest assured your telecoms systems will still be up and running with all your records intact. Setting up in a new location will be quicker and the ability to work remotely means downtime will be limited and your business can bounce back much more quickly.
Cloud services from The Phone Co-op
The Phone Co-op offers cloud solutions ranging from a single user phone and home-based server package that’s perfect for home workers, through small business cloud-based phone systems right up to hosted PBX services covering multiple sites and users.
To find out more, contact the business team on 01608 434 084.