The majority of businesses have on-site telephone systems that they use to conduct their daily operations. But, as technology has advanced over time, an increasing number of firms, especially start-ups and SMEs, are recognising the huge benefits to be gained from upgrading to cloud telephony. But what does this mean exactly? And just what are the pros and cons of upgrading your phone services to the cloud?
What is cloud telephony?
Most people may already be aware of the growth in cloud computing services. Cloud telephony is basically an offshoot or extension to the existing cloud services available. It is basically the virtualisation of a company’s telephone infrastructure, so that instead of having in-house hardware and systems, your phone services are managed through the cloud.
One of the most attractive features of cloud telephony for businesses is the reduced costs. By not needing to invest in your own phone equipment, telephone servers and other associated equipment, you can enjoy huge savings. Equally, you won’t need to worry about repairs, maintenance and insurance to your phone system, as this will all be managed by your cloud service provider.
A business can also save money by only paying for the cloud services that they need. With a traditional telephone system, you can’t get this level of flexibility. With cloud telephony, you can scale your needs up and down, to suit the demands of your business, and thus only pay for what you use.
Because cloud telephony services are provided through the internet, it gives you the flexibility to manage your telephone operations from any location. It also gives other members of staff flexibility if they work from home, are away on business, etc. It means that you shouldn’t need to miss important business calls, as you can gain access to your services via any internet connection.
Many start-ups or SMEs probably wouldn’t be able to afford as sophisticated a telephone system as a large organisation, which could impact on customer service and their level of perceived professionalism. Yet by moving to cloud telephony, a smaller firm can enjoy the same level of features and benefits of the phone system as a big firm would, which can help boost its professional image at the same time.
However, before you decide to make the switch, it’s really important that you choose a provider that is reliable and offers a high-quality service. Not all cloud-based phone systems are the same. Some connections can make voice quality unpredictable, for instance. You’d need to do your homework, to make sure your provider can offer you the best service and quality possible.
One of the biggest drawbacks to cloud telephony is that you are reliant on a good internet connection for your phone services. If this goes down and you lose connection, then it will affect your cloud phone services, too. This could be disruptive to your business and may affect your reputation. However, there are ways around this such as having a back-up connectivity and maintaining one traditional phone line, especially for emergencies.