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Businesses Utilizing The Cloud For More Purposes

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Cloud Communications and Other Services Give Companies New Competitive Advantage Opportunities

The proliferation of cloud services throughout the consumer and business landscapes is providing corporate decision-makers with more reasons to embrace the hosted services and transform their communication practices. In the past, organizations were often tied down by the financial and operational restrictions of old phone systems, as many of these platforms did not support the collaborative needs of employees or customers. Today, organizations are breaking new ground and implementing sophisticated solutions to improve operations on multiple levels.

Rather than using outdated communication solutions, many enterprises and small businesses are utilizing business VoIP phone systems that can be integrated with the cloud. In many cases, using cloud-enabled telecommunications can give organizations the ability to augment operations on multiple levels, allowing them to build better customer retention plans and improve internal collaboration. A new Infonetics Research report highlighted the growing use of VoIP, noting that it is largely being driven by the increasing comfort and familiarity with the cloud.

The study revealed that the global VoIP services revenue increased to $33 billion in the first half of 2013. Analysts predict that the worldwide revenue for business VoIP systems in particular is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7 percent between 2012 and 2017.

While there are numerous factors contributing to this momentum, hosted PBX solutions grew the most out of any VoIP service in the first half of this year. This is primarily because large enterprises recognize the benefits of utilizing the cloud instead of premise-based offerings, though smaller organizations are also starting to realize the potential of using the cloud.

"The VoIP services market is on track with our expectations for 2013. Residential VoIP services make up the majority of revenue, but growth is being fueled by business services as SIP trunking and cloud unified communications continue to expand and find broader adoption with enterprises of all sizes," said Diane Myers, principal analyst for VoIP, UC and IMS at Infonetics Research.

As the cloud marketplace expands, organizations of all sizes will find more reasons to implement the technology for a variety of reasons, including to improve existing phone systems. Another study by IBM highlighted this trend, noting that the cloud will continue to gain momentum in the business world as decision-makers using the technology tout the benefits of doing so.

Cloud Continues Breaking New Grounds

IBM polled more than 800 cloud decision-makers and users and found that organizations using the hosted service often report generating nearly twice the revenue growth as rival firms not leveraging the cloud. In fact, cloud-enabled businesses often report more than double the higher gross profit growth of companies that are more cautious about using the cloud.

Improving collaboration is one of the primary reasons for implementing the cloud, as cloud adopters are 79 percent more likely to rely on the cloud to acquire expertise needed to improve communication and teamwork. Meanwhile, companies using the cloud are 66 percent more likely to strengthen relationships between IT departments and other lines of business. This is largely because organizations are deploying the cloud to integrate mobile, social and other collaborative tools together into a unified system.

"We see cloud computing as the next frontier for major investments. Businesses that capitalize on cloud capabilities can go well beyond launching a product to actually expanding their business model and targeting new markets and new buyers," said Mike Grandinetti, managing director at Southboro Capital.

IBM revealed that cloud-enabled companies are 136 percent more likely to use the hosted services to improve customer relationships. This is largely because implementing the cloud into the contact center or other outward-facing departments allow corporate representatives to be more widely available to prospective and existing clients, improving the way employees communicate with end users.

In the coming years, organizations around the world will continue to pursue cloud-based communication tools because of their ability to not only reduce costs but also improve operations and garner better collaboration practices between internal and external parties. By replacing old phone systems with cloud-enabled options, businesses of all sizes can gain new advantages over rival firms and implement better practices to augment long-term operations.