NWA: What are the benefits of UC in the cloud?
Elms: The benefits of UC in the cloud include greater flexibility and scalability on resources as required, which ultimately enables organizations to be more adaptable and responsive to the changing business landscape.
UC in the cloud also allows users to access their voicemail, instant messaging service, video to the desktop, and contacts across their fixed line, smartphone, desktop, laptop and tablet through one single geographic number. This greatly simplifies the process and gives users the complete control, as well as the ability to customize how and when each call, SMS, voicemail or instant messages are delivered to them.
Additional enhanced call management capabilities also support more advanced work groups and integration with customer relationship management applications. Therefore, not only benefiting an organization’s internal processes and operations, but also help improve customer service with queries being answered in a more timely and efficient manner.
Increasingly, cloud services are embracing a wide range of collaboration tools. These include audio, video and web conferencing, bolstering collaboration among employees and enabling them to share information and use applications like white-boarding across all fixed and mobile devices. These also extend to more advanced social media services that enable geographically disparate teams to work together far more effectively than has previously been possible.
NWA: What about the cons? One concern with the cloud is accessibility, so how will this factor into UC in the cloud?
Elms: Accessibility of the cloud is dependent on a number of external factors, such as the use of appropriate web standards, government policy and effective infrastructure – these effectively support an inclusive cloud. Consider – for instance – the ongoing debate that Government decision makers and regulators have about Cloud in the matter of citizen data storage. Some Governments insist that call records are kept in country and not in a remote server for example.
If a service provider hosts all their calls in a call control in Singapore, for example, they might not be able to sell this service to an Indonesian government department.
However, the great thing about cloud is that it increases the potential to work anywhere and actually increase accessibility. With duplicated servers and network devices, availability is increased. The Vodafone fixed and mobile network also provides increased choice for organizations and employees. Vodafone sees that the market demand for cloud based UC&C is increasing at a faster rate than on-premise services, suggesting that the market is prepared to seek the benefits of moving to scalable services delivered from the cloud.