A lot of businesses are using cloud based applications today because of all the great advantages they bring. But cloud based unified communications is still a little embryonic. So we decided to delve a little deeper into why would this be.
Well, in our humble opinion it’s because many of the current cloud based unified communications solutions are based on consumer platforms. Yes, they are simple to use; great for a very small business or single person businesses or families (just as our Flexfone Essential fills that niche.) But they are simpler purely because they have not implemented the full suite of capabilities that a business requires. We know this much because we talk to business customers every day and we hear their concerns or even complaints about what they would like a cloud system to do for them.
So a simpler, truly business ready solution is required.
What if we could create a cloud based unified communications solution based on an existing, industry leading unified communications platform? Would that fill the gap of simpler to manage, operate and acquire while retaining all the features a business requires?
Hosted IP Office might be the answer
Well, we think we have come up with the ideal answer. We have done exactly that with Hosted IP Office, basing it on the Avaya IP Office, which is currently at Release 10. In other words, we are not starting with a brand new unified communications application but something that is tried and trusted by over five hundred thousand of businesses globally.
Perhaps this is the time to take a quick step back into what is good about cloud and what may not be so good about cloud for a business – to better put things into context.
Anywhere Access – to communications – to each other
One of the reasons cloud based applications have taken off is the ability to access them from almost anywhere, the ability to pay for them on a monthly basis without a large upfront capital expense and often, the scalability of the application. If an application offers something totally unique or different we might be willing to forgive a quirk and use as is, even if it is making us do things a little differently. For many, the application has to grow and add more functionality to keep up with customer needs and competitive forces. New, unique entrants may end up being completely displaced by new applications or existing applications that now also offer that once unique capability.
Change – always a concern
For any application that requires us to change the way we do things, it has to offer something so compelling to succeed. This works for individual or personal apps. After all, you end up with Apple or Android bigots who will all tell you why their favourite is the greatest thing.
A business application has to transcend what an individual does, so this may not work so well. How many GTD (Getting Things Done) time and activity management tools have people tried and stopped using? These can be quite sophisticated but it means you have to completely conform the way you work. Even if you were willing to do that, to get the most out of them you will have to get everyone else you work with on board to make them effective. Al conforming, all working the same way.
This holds true for unified communications. It is more than just a telephone system when it also incorporates the ability to track the presence of others, integrate text, instant messaging, email, voice mail as well as telephone calls into a single collaborative application.
Work your way
In reality, this will be almost essential for some of your power users but not so much for others within your company. So having a unified communications solution that can handle all users, allowing all of them to work their own way, is a powerful business tool; overcoming the tension and pushback from different types of users when implementing something new.
Hosted IP Office is the ideal platform for any business but especially those with an existing Nortel or Avaya system such as a BCM, Norstar or older IP Office. Users will be familiar with most of the basic features and get to use the new or upgraded capabilities, collaboration and mobility in particular.
We believe Hosted IP Office is the solution businesses have been looking for and will allow more businesses to adopt a cloud unified communications solution.