We’ve all been there before. Your team is gathered in the conference room for a meeting, some staff are dialling in and there’s a few external parties to join. So begins the awkward conference call kick-off. As participants join, some struggle with audio, others with video settings and then there’s the ones separately messaging as they attempt to hunt down call codes to use via mobile devices. “Can you hear us?”, “We can’t hear you”, “Let’s get IT in here to fix this”- the trouble shooting continues as the minutes tick by and participants sit idle. In fact, it’s estimated that we waste 6 minutes on average before every conference meeting just getting everything to work1. It all adds up to wasted time and reduced productivity.
Fortunately, advances in cloud calling are making this scenario a distant memory.
This is because, where they once lacked the features, functionality, security and reliability to be a viable replacement for on-premises PBX, cloud-based calling solutions have recently taken significant strides forward to become a serious, cost-effective alternative. So much so that some predict up to 90% of IT leaders will no longer be purchasing on-premises PBX or unified communications equipment beyond 20212.
Cloud-based as a Service is certainly gaining steam in the modern enterprise. While 34% of Australian enterprises now have a cloud-first policy2, they haven’t considered cloud-based calling. We are, however, beginning to see the tide turn with more and more Australian businesses realising the many advantages that today’s modern cloud communications systems can deliver. Here’s what we see as driving this shift:
There’s many benefits to moving away from PBX to cloud calling. Topping the list is central manageability. No matter where your offices are, as long as there’s an internet connection, the solution will be effective. Connecting and managing is simple, and you don’t need WAN links in place.
Once the lifeblood of enterprise communications architecture, today, many traditional PBX systems are rapidly approaching end of life. These ageing technologies are really no longer able to keep up with the rigours of modern business. They lack the productivity and integration features of emerging cloud technologies, and it’s hard to reconcile the huge expense that comes from managing, maintaining and scaling the solution.
As the nbn progressively rolls out to more CBD locations, we’re starting to see Telstra advise business customers that their copper lines are being made redundant. The majority of these customers are moving to SIP trunking or software-based PBX services managed and maintained by a PBX vendor, but the reality is, these solutions still rely on software patches to be installed and infrastructure to be maintained (either on-premises or virtualised).
When it comes to leveraging the cloud for teamwork and collaboration, it’s Cisco who is really leading the charge here. More than 95% of the Fortune 500 are using Cisco collaboration and Gartner named them as a leader in three collaboration-related Magic Quadrant reports: Unified Communications, Contact Center Infrastructure, Worldwide and Meetings Solutions3.
Behind these noteworthy gongs is the powerful Webex. It’s the next-gen cloud calling service that delivers the security, scalability, and feature-rich functionality needed to serve future business needs far more effectively than traditional PBX solutions. Offered through a flexible cloud subscription model, it brings natural economies of scale, which can help avoid major hardware and infrastructure outlays and large upfront investments.
The platform includes HD video and audio calls, call barging and hunt groups, voicemail, a self-care portal, dashboard, and Webex Control Hub – where you manage all your Webex services. It enables encryption for a host of activities, and includes integrations with a number of popular business apps.
They’ve embedded a whole bunch of advanced technologies to enhance the communication experience too. It’s all about “cognitive collaboration”, a term coined by Cisco to explain the intended result of their technologies – contextual, personalised, and predictive interactions and workflows. To get there, they leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics. Intelligence is gathered by sensors, bots, CRM, IoT, profiles, calendar scheduling, and social and public data, allowing Webex to provide contextual relevance to calling, meeting and team communications. The opportunities to customise collaboration based on how an individual works is endless.
They’re about to make things even more cohesive too. Traditionally, Cisco have maintained three separate cloud solutions:
However, all three offerings will soon be accessible via a single enterprise-grade app giving users access to video conferencing, team collaboration tools and cloud calling in just a few taps. Expected to be released towards the end of 2019, the app – which can be used on any device – gives users easy access to all three platforms, or just the ones they have licenses for. This will all be made available with a ‘per user’ model, which will allow functionality to be mixed and matched for each user.
To cater for the reality that tablets, phones and laptops are all commonplace today – whether personal or employer-issued – Cisco have ensured there’s no limit on endpoints per user, so the app can be installed across all devices without additional cost.
Look out for Cisco’s release in early 2020 of Webex Contact Centre; a comprehensive omnichannel customer support hub.
We work with organisations across Australia to assess their readiness to move to cloud calling and collaboration, consult and assist with cloud calling migrations, and ensure the network can handle the new solution.
Our expert team is here to help you learn more about the power of a cloud collaboration solution or guide you on the first steps of your migration journey. Get in contact with our team to start the conversation and see how Cisco Cloud Calling can improve collaboration in your organisation.
1. Plantronics (2016). Better Meeting Blueprint. [Online] Available at: https://www.plantronics.com/content/dam/plantronics/documents-and-guides/en/e-books/better-meeting-blueprint-ebook.pdf
2. Cisco, How to get on the road to cloud calling success (2019). Available at: https://blogs.cisco.com/collaboration/how-to-get-on-the-road-to-cloud-calling-success
3. Cisco, Cisco Named a leader in three Gartner Magic Quadrant Reports in four months (2018). Available at: https://newsroom.cisco.com/press-release-content?type=webcontent&articleId=1942688