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Cloud, mobile are communication 'game changers'

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It's a fact that organizations no longer operate in the same fashion that they used to, as large enterprises and small companies continue to adopt innovative tools in an effort to enhance operations, reduce costs and stay competitive with rival firms. This trend has brought about the presence of several significant "game-changers" in the communications landscape that have forever altered the business phone system.

Several of these endeavors were highlighted in a recent study of more than 1,100 IT professionals by a major telecommunications network provider, which found that the presence of mobility and cloud services has changed how individuals communicate with colleagues, partners and even clients. Enterprise mobility in particular was highlighted as a game-changer by 44 percent of respondents.

In fact, the survey revealed that approximately 43 percent of all calls originating within a business facility involved the use of a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. However, because only 30 percent of enterprises said their carrier supported strong mobile reception in the office, a large number of employees often have to roam around the office looking for a signal or conduct corporate calls outside of the building.

This suggests that companies need to address the inadequacies by replacing old phone systems with mobile-enabled offerings, especially as individuals continue to demand the use of personal gadgets in the workplace.

"It's clear from the survey that bring your own device is a growing trend and places a heavy demand on organizational infrastructure, while weighing heavily on the minds of most network IT professionals," communications infrastructure expert Kevin St. Cyr said. "The pace of mobility adoption by consumers - and thus the workforce and company visitors - has outrun the infrastructure and practices in place within enterprise facilities to support it."

The rapid proliferation of mobile devices has also introduced new opportunities for hosted PBX solutions.

The cloud's impact on communications

The study revealed that approximately three-quarters of respondents are already using cloud services in some way. Another 44 percent recognized the technology as a major game-changer in the communications landscape, believing its importance will only grow in time.

Currently, about 21 percent of companies run more than half of their applications in a cloud-based environment. This number is forecast to jump in the coming years, especially as organizations continue to support a remote workforce and demand the use of cloud communications technologies.

A separate report by Channel Partners highlighted similar findings, noting that approximately one-fifth of businesses have implemented cloud-based communications tools, with more doing so when mobility is factored into the equation. This is largely because conventional phone systems are no longer effective at supporting today's sophisticated operations, especially as employees demand to work from home or use smartphones and tablets to carry out mission-critical tasks.

If companies want to implement hosted PBX services and other cloud communications solutions, decision-makers need to understand that internal IT teams will not be able to give up their role in supporting these operations even though the technology is now hosted, Channel Partners noted.

In the coming years, the business phone system will continue to change, especially as cloud and mobile technologies become increasingly important tools for carrying out critical tasks in the workplace. Executives looking to stay competitive by implementing these services need to plan the migration carefully, as simply deploying the tools will not provide any real advantages. Decision-makers must ensure individuals know how to safely and efficiently use the solutions in order for their companies to experience positive results.