Business telephony has evolved in silos segmented by location, network and business need. The result is over complicated, overpriced and inflexible business communications at the heart of most businesses.
Traditional Office Based Telephony
The standard approach to delivering business telephony is the PBX (Private Branch Exchange). In our head office we install one of these, place often proprietary telephones on each employee’s desk and connect to the outside world through ISDN lines. If we have regional or branch offices we replicate this on a smaller scale.
This traditional approach leaves us with a distributed architecture with multiple platforms in multiple locations, with little to no seamless connectivity between sites – many organisations still have to dial between sites using the PSTN.
Additional Requirements, Additional Boxes
The number of silos increase when there is a need for additional capability. For example, I want to support a small contact centre with the traditional approach- this means a separate box with separate handsets and separate connections to the PSTN, another silo.
The same is true if I want to add functionality to my existing telephony. For example, I want some form of auto-attendant, IVR or voice recording. I have to add a box to each PBX or site which is a lot of duplication and unnecessary expense.
The Separate Worlds Of Fixed & Mobile
Two very separate and distinct worlds of communications have emerged because we are using business mobiles more often than ever before.
How many times do you call someone’s office number only to get voicemail? You leave a message and instantly try their mobile – surely the solution is ‘one number reach’ regardless of device.
The Cloud Has To Be The Answer
The approach we have taken in computing- to centralise applications and deliver their capability to anyone, anywhere at any time- has to be the answer for business communications.
By centralising our communications in the cloud, we create a single platform that serves and unites all users. The cloud allows us to scale and extend this platform to support remote workers and home workers resulting in one system for every employee.
It provides the ability to turn on additional functionality to meet business need such as IVR self-service, auto-attendant, contact centre or recording and to do this in a single place, available to everyone.
In addition it also gives us the ability to converge fixed and mobile communication. If there is no answer from a user’s desk phone, the call is automatically routed to their mobile, providing single number reach. The caller does not have to hang up and redial the mobile number.
This approach transforms business communication, achieving economies of scale through centralisation, simplifies management by having a single platform and provides the ability to deliver the capability each individual needs, when they need it, wherever they need it, and on the device of their choice.
In terms of business telephony, the cloud most definitely has the silver lining.