Imagine your worst IT nightmares: a natural disaster hits your area, causing a complete outage of your communications system, network and infrastructure for several hours. When the smoke clears (hopefully only figuratively) you’re left responsible for the lost data and uptime, and lost business as a result. Or imagine you come to work tomorrow morning and the company has undergone a merger – and it’s your responsibility to expand the communications infrastructure to suit hundreds of new employees. Are your palms sweaty yet?
IT personnel are responsible for the performance of the enterprise communication systems, which is why it is important to be prepared for the unpredictable costs associated with it. Fortunately, the growth of cloud applications has given IT tools to handle even the most critical situations by allowing for flexibility and scalability beyond the capabilities of on-premises solutions.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
Disaster recovery is one area where unpredictable costs for IT departments can stack up quickly. In the event of an outage, whether from a temporary disruption of calls due to a local carrier, circuit outage, power outage, network failure or from a full-scale catastrophic disaster, enterprises stand to lose valuable data and irreplaceable customer interaction. Downtime means lost business.
Just how much is there to lose? According to IDC, Fortune 100 companies lose between $1.25 billion and $2.5 billion every year due to application outages. IHS says that the typical midsize company loses about $1 million a year while a larger enterprise can lose more than $60 million a year.
Having a business continuity/disaster recovery system based in the cloud means if your communications infrastructure goes down, you won’t have to lose business as a result.
Your cloud-based communications system will automatically route calls to other numbers and / or locations should the system be unable to complete those calls as originally dialed. The original call routing rules automatically resume as soon as the local equipment is back up and running. Additionally, you can enable a secondary MPLS for SIP Trunking, Data, and Internet redundancy.
Better yet, cloud-based disaster recovery is a planned cost as part of your communications infrastructure, meaning you won’t be surprised with costs to execute the plan in the event of a disaster.
Bursting with Growth
But what about the good kinds of unpredictable costs –those resulting from your company doing well and growing? While positive in nature, growing pains can often be hardest on the IT department, which has to deal with outfitting the expanding locations and workforces with the appropriate communications tools and extending the communications infrastructure.
Using a cloud-based communication system allows IT departments to virtually scale their communications, making it easy to accommodate personnel or office changes.
Here are some business drivers where cloud-based communication can benefit the IT department as well as the entire enterprise:
- Flexible migration and integration. After a merger or acquisition, it is common for an enterprise to be faced with uniting multiple legacy networks and systems. In most cases, the sheer cost of bringing all of that disparate and heterogeneous hardware onto one network is reason enough to look towards a cloud-based communications solution. Cloud can offer you a single, flexible communications infrastructure that can meet the communications needs of each location and scale to accommodate future expansion.
- Personalized customer approach from certified engineers. New employees mean you need to update and assign new DIDs and extensions – a process that can be cumbersome for the IT department, especially on a large scale. Cloud-based communications gives you the flexibility to add and delete extensions simply through a call to the NOC and without separate service charges. It also eases the ongoing management, maintenance and replacement costs.
- Support for mobility and remote workers. As enterprises grow, they are taking advantage of remote workforces but struggling to extend their communications network to individual employees around the country. Often it is difficult to find a single carrier that can reach all remote business locations, leading to unnecessary internal corporate expenses and limited service at some locations. Cloud allows easy implementation of communication tools to remote workers via secure IP and accommodates them if they are on the move.
- A cohesive network approach. Enterprises, especially those that maintain contact centers, are often hindered by the limitations of traditional communications technology. Their call volume is capped, their abandon rate is high and their bottom line is affected. Whether it’s for a contact center or regular business communications, cloud-based services can allow your system to dynamically add capacity when needed – accommodating peaks without artificial constraints or service degradation, giving you the capability to adjust based on actual demand, intelligently responding to traffic on a moment to moment basis.