Why Now is the Time to Move to Cloud Collaboration

Cloud collaboration

Unless you’re a company of one, communication is the backbone of your organization’s productivity. But that backbone may soon break under the weight of obsolesce, making now the ideal time to look into how the cloud can shore it up today and brace it for the future.

A change is coming. Get ahead of it.

The only thing consistent about any technology is that the pace of innovation will one day make it obsolete. If you’re one of the millions of organizations using Cisco Call Manager 8.x that day is July 31, 2017. After that date, 50-60% of call managers will be unsupported, leading to potential downtime or outages.

Given the crucial roles that IT and communication play in your organization’s competitiveness, can it risk possible downtime? Likely not. Studies show the cost of an hour of downtime is at least $300,000 for more than 80% of enterprises. That is a quick way to move from IT hero to zero in 60 minutes.

Upgrading can avoid this, but won’t prepare you well for the future. Instead, it may be time to look at a hybrid approach. This way, you can gradually replace aging infrastructure with cloud collaboration solutions. This will save in the long term, as you move away from Capex to Opex. It will also reduce the burden on IT management around patching, upgrades, and fixes.

User expectations continue to climb

Meanwhile, the consumerization of IT continues, adding another wrinkle. Employees and customers expect more and more from the digital communications experience. They expect their business devices and apps to be as powerful as the ones from their personal lives. They demand seamless mobile, social and video capabilities.

These collaboration capabilities have a tangible impact on performance and morale. Workers are 17% more satisfied with their workplace culture when they have access to digital collaboration tools. That satisfaction translates directly into performance.

Millennial employees—soon to make up the bulk of the workforce—are, of course, even more focused on finding a connected culture. For example, 35% say BYOD policies influence whether they accept or decline a job offer. Poor collaboration capabilities could ultimately result in a future talent shortfall.

UC for the win

Unified Communications (UC) has been a game changer. It integrates voice, video, mobility and presence across all endpoints, devices, and applications. UC improves collaboration and customer service, all while improving efficiency and reducing costs.

Recently, like so many areas in IT, organizations have opted to gain UC through the hybrid approach of mixing cloud and on-premise delivery. This affords the flexibility, efficiency and procurement ease common to cloud services, but still takes some advantage of existing hardware and infrastructure.

Cloud collaboration ‘Sparks’ transformation

Similarly, a cloud collaboration solution, like Cisco Spark, offers significant benefits to organizations facing looming upgrades, heightened user expectations or wanting to embrace UC. Benefits include:

  • Hardware cost – Cloud collaboration eliminates the cost of replacing end-of-life hardware. It can help to shift your communications infrastructure from a Capex to Opex model.
  • Staying current – It takes the burden of patching and fixes off the IT team and puts it into the hands of the host.
  • Reduced management and admin – A subscription-based solution naturally frees up time to focus on other areas of strategic value.
  • Hybrid flexibility – The right solution lets you leverage existing investments. It complements on-premise solutions by adding rich meeting and messaging capabilities.

Of course, now is not likely to be the time for complete cloud-based communications. Deploying your collaboration capabilities in a hybrid approach solves that. You can reduce the IT admin burden, future-proof, create productivity gains, cut costs, improve user morale and enhance customer experience—all while protecting existing investments. So isn’t it now the time to take a serious look at it?

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About Chris Martin

Chris is the Cisco Services Practice Technical Leader at Softchoice.