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Cloud flexibility, agility drives momentum

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The advent of cloud computing, like the emergence of the internet, has the opportunity to dramatically transform both the IT and business landscape by introducing advanced storage solutions, big data analytic tools and hosted PBX systems. In the coming years, companies of all sizes will continue their migration to the cloud, adopting new strategies, mentalities and philosophies along the way.

A recent HP report highlighted the importance that CIOs and CFOs understand the concepts associated with making the transition to the cloud. Although firms can experience a number of benefits and opportunities when using the hosted services in the workplace, there are also some common pitfalls that decision-makers should be wary of and avoid.

Nevertheless, the cloud more often than not offers advantages that far outweigh the concerns associated with using it. For this reason, decision-makers should understand the technology and how using it can give them an edge over competitors still using old communication platforms and technologies.

Why adopt the cloud?

The speed and flexibility of the cloud is often the most highly decorated characteristic of the hosted services, HP noted. Although traditional solutions may still provide some benefits to an organization, largely because employees are familiar with the tools, it is often costly and troublesome to maintain an antiquated platform that only provides a few advantages.

A cloud VoIP system, for example, gives organizations the ability to easily add or remove connections, allowing employees to continue operations from virtually anywhere at any time. This is especially important in today's highly mobile landscape, where individuals demand the ability to work remotely and use personal smartphones or tablets for business operations. HP said the cloud is easily scalable and can be deployed quickly and efficiently, minimizing downtime, reducing maintenance expenses and boosting revenue potential.

In addition to providing firms a way to improve the agility of operations, the cloud is also on the cusp of technological innovation. Because new tools and services are being offered every day, it is unreasonable to expect decision-makers to locate these offerings and implement them regularly, the report said. By using the cloud, organizations can have software automatically upgraded and deployed, eliminating the need to waste time and resources that could otherwise be used to focus on more mission-critical objectives.

A report by Infonetics highlighted the evolving VoIP market, noting that many businesses are beginning to replace old phone systems with cloud-based offerings because of the inherent flexibility and management improvements associated with making the tradition. In fact, the number of organizations using hosted enterprise VoIP services is forecast to more than double between 2012 and 2016.

"The revenue that service providers derive from their residential and [small office/home office] VoIP subscribers still eclipses what they get from businesses, but the business segment is growing about twice as fast, due in large part to the surging popularity of SIP trunking and hosted VoIP and [unified communications] services," said Diane Myers, directing analyst for VoIP at Infonetics Research.

As the overall cloud services market continues to evolve and expand, companies around the world will begin making the transition from traditional VoIP to cloud-based solutions due to the hosted offering's ability to improve agility, reduce costs and support an ever-increasing remote workforce. By planning ahead and understanding how their organizations can make the switch to hosted VoIP, executives will likely be able to make the transition without encountering any problems that could jeopardize performance.