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Sway Your CFO to Cloud Unified Communications

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - 16:45
CFO Unified Communications

Switching to Cloud-Based Unified Communications

Congratulations!  Your CIO has given their blessing to go forth with a new Unified Communications solution.  The only thing standing in the way of implementing this enhanced communications solution for the enterprise now is…your CFO.  Suddenly, you have the daunting task of convincing your CFO to spend money on a new, hosted UC system.  Here are some key areas to focus on when working to convince the gate-keepers that switching to Unified Communications (UC) is a positive and worthwhile investment.

Capital Expense vs. Operating Expense

First, you’ll need to determine whether your CFO is inclined toward a capital expense or an operating expense model.  Cloud-based Unified Communications naturally falls into more of an operating expense model as it generally is billed as an ongoing monthly expense, with all services and support included in that one monthly charge.

From a capital expense viewpoint, selling a cloud-centric model is a little more challenging. However, as a predictable expense that bundles any foreseeable maintenance and upgrades into the monthly cost, the cloud can be appealing to financial executives since they’ll be able to accurately budget for their enterprise phone system.

Seasonal Flexibility

While a lot of businesses continue year-in-and-year-out, closing only for weekends and holidays, many others run seasonally.  They are the lawn care companies, the tax accountants, the snow removers, and so on.  With traditional phone systems, there is not very much flexibility in terms of downsizing their needs during the off-season. For instance, the phone system sits mostly idle at the cider mills and lawn care companies during the winter months.

With a cloud-based Unified Communications system, features and capacity can be increased or decreased as needed, based on seasonal volume and needs.  And additional mobility features can be added for those smaller companies where the owner may be out in the field, working jobs while juggling new business opportunities and customer service issues.  Hosted UC simply provides the best opportunity for seasonal flexibility for corporate UC phone systems.

No Unexpected Support Costs

With many software and service providers, the ongoing sale of yearly maintenance contracts is their bread and butter.  Other providers will try to saddle you with additional support costs when something goes wrong.  A single support call can cost at least several hundred dollars in additional, unexpected, and unbudgeted fees.

On the other hand, cloud UC providers like West Unified Communications don’t charge extra for support, maintenance, or upgrades.  Those costs are rolled into the monthly costs upfront, so there are no surprises.  There is only one flat fee – either per user/month or per location/month – nothing more.  With hosted UC, your CFO won’t lose any sleep over extra, unplanned support costs.

Technology Upgrades Included

In IT, patches, service packs, and upgrades are just part of the job.  IT staff are constantly working on the art of balancing the compatibility issues that can come with upgrades and software fixes, while offering employees enhanced tools for improved job efficiency.

With cloud-based UC, that struggle is a thing of the past for your IT staff.  All updates are tested at, and implemented by, the Unified Communications provider.  This setup can alleviate the innate fears network communications support staff have concerning which systems the next update will break.  And not only are updates automatically handled, the back-end technology infrastructure at the provider’s locations are continually upgraded to the latest, state-of-the-art equipment.

In this way, your company will always have access to the most up-to-date UC tools available.  Even CFOs get a little excited about having access to communication features that make their jobs easier and provide greater efficiency!

Built-in Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Protection

One major concern for CFOs (and all executives) involves safeguarding against disasters that can put a halt to daily business functionality.  What happens if/when the 10-year old phone system gives out?  What contingency plan is in place in the event of a natural disaster like an earthquake or tornado?  How will business communications continue; how will employees be able to complete their daily tasks?

Utilizing a hosted Unified Communications system means that redundancy is a given and failover capabilities are built-in.  This functionality is simply not available with most traditional phone systems, or it’s at least cost-prohibitive to have a secondary system onsite in case of a potential failure.

Hosted UC systems like those from West UC include a disaster recovery feature.  West makes sure to work with each client during the implementation process to create a solid business continuity/disaster recovery plan.  This plan ensures the restoration and protection of critical enterprise communications, should a disaster occur.  You can remind your CFO of the unimaginable costs that could be incurred, if the onsite communications infrastructure were to be disrupted or eliminated, for even a short period of time.

So now you’re armed and ready with a large arsenal of reasons that will easily convince your CFO that implementing a cloud-based Unified Communications system is the best solution for your company’s ongoing business communication needs.  Help them to see the advantage of operating expenses over large, upfront capital expenses.  

Be sure to point out the benefit of seasonal flexibility and no unexpected or additional support costs.  Make sure they’re aware that in a cloud solution setup, they’ll have access to the latest and greatest technologies.  Finally, provide a gentle reality check regarding the costs that a potential disaster could inflict on organizational operations.  

For these reasons and many more, you should be able to easily sway your CFO to make the move to cloud-based Unified Communications.


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