This article was originally featured on ShoreTel’s website here.
WRITTEN BY KATIE KREGEL, DIRECTOR, GLOBAL CORPORATE MARKETING, SHORETEL
IT teams are no strangers to change, but technology is advancing at such an accelerated pace that it can be a challenge to keep up, much less leap ahead. Plus, it’s all too easy for technology “tipping points” to become “tripping points” if companies don’t learn how to navigate the constant change in the new digital landscape, as Gartner points out.
Adaptability is essential for businesses to thrive in this environment. Your IT team must be nimble enough to leverage emerging technologies before your competitors do, or risk falling behind. But this kind of agility is only possible with flexible, open systems that can accommodate a wide range of emerging technologies – even those not yet on the horizon.
While it’s easy to jump first to sexy IoT apps like connected security cameras or heavily integrated solutions such as a CRM, your business phone system has more to offer in terms of helping your business adapt to change than it may seem at first blush. One way to future-proof your phone system is to invest in cloud communications, which offers an ideal mix of off-the-shelf tools, customization, and flexibility. Let’s take a closer look at why upgrading to the cloud can make it easier for your business to adapt to rapid change.
Enables Mobile Workstyles
If researcher IDC’s estimates hold true, by 2020 the mobile workforce will rise to more than 105 million people in the U.S. alone. Already, businesses are acutely aware that remote and traveling employees are straining their systems. For example, workers need to view business information and input it as well. This means IT teams will need to adapt systems to support a broad suite of business applications that enable this mobile workstyle, such as web-based CRM or mobile-accessible collaboration tools like text, video, and screen sharing.
Streamlines Integration with Emerging Technologies
Upgrading your phone system so it can more easily support new and emerging technologies can transform the way your business thinks about innovation. As technologies such as artificial intelligence and bots become more sophisticated, they present new and exciting possibilities, from improving the customer experience to optimizing workforce productivity. Already, AI is transforming how consumers interact with businesses and bots are streamlining back office tasks. But to gain a competitive advantage, businesses need the ability to customize and adapt these technologies in unique and powerful ways to suit their specific workflows – including integrating them with everyday communications processes that are already in place. Look for cloud-based phone systems that offer open APIs, as they allow for easy customization and integration of IoT applications as they make sense for your organization.
Cloud or Hybrid – A Competitive Advantage
Cloud phone systems offer flexibility not only to integrate emerging technologies, but to trial productivity applications and add or remove services as your business needs shift. Another advantage is that the cloud provider handles administrative and maintenance tasks, freeing your IT team to focus on projects that take advantage of new technologies. And for those companies not yet ready to fully embrace the cloud, a hybrid approach allows for a mixed deployment of both on-site and cloud services. With a hybrid arrangement, you can take advantage of emerging technologies, while still maximizing the investments you’ve made in on-premises equipment.
As your organization looks for ways to keep up with the rapid demands of technological change, future-proofing your communications technology should be on your short-list. Leveraging cloud communications will help you meet the demands of a mobile workforce, remain competitive and agile, and fully embrace emerging technologies.