As the business world continues to transform, companies around the world are embracing cloud computing and hosted PBX solutions in an effort to stay on the cutting edge of technology. In doing so, both large enterprises and small organizations are able to potentially gain a competitive advantage over rival firms still using outdated technologies, which prevent them from embracing next-generation initiatives such as the adoption of mobile devices and other advanced collaborative tools.
A recent study of more than 800 IT leaders and decision-makers within U.S. businesses by independent research firm Neovise on behalf of Virtustream highlighted the growing American cloud market. In fact, the survey revealed that more than half of respondents are already using at least one public or private cloud solution. While this represents a major milestone in the adoption of hosted tools in the private sector, it suggests there is still a lot of room for growth.
Interestingly, IT executives take various approaches to using the cloud. While some enterprises see the potential in completely replacing old phone systems and other tools with cloud-based services, others believe implementing multiple clouds simultaneously provides the most benefit.
"We have already entered the multi-cloud world and there is no going back," said Paul Burns, president of Neovise. "What remains is further maturity for hybrid clouds – where organizations not only use multiple clouds, but combine and integrate them to provide enhanced capabilities. Service providers and vendors that support multiple types of clouds have a competitive advantage here."
Performance is critical to cloud success
In many cases, the scalable and flexible characteristics of the cloud are among the technology's most important features, especially when selecting a cloud PBX platform. Neovise noted that hosted environments that are elastic and can be quickly adapted or transformed offer the greatest potential for businesses, though many decision-makers have failed to implement these tools. This suggests that enterprises will likely benefit from the ongoing maturity of the cloud, which will inspire more confidence to implement the hosted services.
"It is great to see from this research how broadly enterprises are adopting clouds today," said Simon Aspinall, an executive at Virtustream. "Cloud users expect to be able to choose hybrid combinations of cloud: public, private, virtual private and hybrid clouds. Businesses also want enterprise-class cloud services that deliver assured performance and high reliability that production applications demand."
The changing business phone system is a major contributor to the ongoing adoption of cloud services in the private sector, especially as consumerization trends continue to lead decision-makers to support the ability to use smartphones, tablets and other gadgets for work-related purposes. This was highlighted in a separate study of more than 1,200 IT professionals by CDW, which found that nearly three-quarters of respondents said the personal use of cloud and mobile services influenced their decision to deploy hosted services in the office.
In fact, CDW revealed that 68 percent of executives said employee requests for the cloud have dramatically increased during the past two years.
"By aligning cloud services with critical applications and preferences of employees that use mobile devices, organizations can better capture business value that includes cost savings, increased efficiency, improved employee mobility and an increased ability to create innovative new products and services," said Stephen Braat, general manager of cloud solutions at CDW.
As the cloud continues to evolve in the coming years, decision-makers will continue their quest to improve collaboration, resorting to the use of cloud-based phone systems that are more flexible, scalable and adaptable than legacy land line offerings.