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Cloud services continue to disrupt enterprise operations

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Decision-makers are beginning to realize that the cloud is the future of all enterprise operations.

Enterprise executives are realizing that they need to step out of the box if they want to stay competitive with the rest of the organizations in their respective industry. This process usually involves numerous transformations, including replacing old phone systems with more advanced offerings, eliminating the presence of antiquated hardware on-site and embracing sophisticated network services that support mobility.

Because every organization is unique with its own demands, capabilities and budget restrictions, decision-makers often embark on various tasks to achieve long-term benefits. However, there is one technology that is widely believed to level the playing field, allowing smaller companies to compete with larger enterprises despite traditional differences.

Enter: Cloud computing.

The cloud has the ability to transform the entire enterprise. Rather than having a land line phone, for example, executives can implement a hosted PBX system, which is more flexible and adaptable to ongoing technological changes. The cloud can also be used to augment storage capabilities, eliminating the need to maintain expensive, bulky and often inefficient hardware on-site. These capabilities are making the cloud omnipresent.

The birth of the cloud era

A recent Forbes report highlighted how employees were really the spark to the cloud computing flame. Individuals wanted change; there is no denying it. Instead of leveraging outdated phone systems, workers wanted the ability to use personal smartphones and tablets. Rather than having to come into the office every day, employees demanded that executives implement the tools needed to support a remote workforce. These changes continue to occur and are still driving the use of the cloud in the business world.

For the most part, remote connectivity is a major benefit for organizations. By leveraging a hosted PBX solution, employees can use personal mobile gadgets to connect to the network from virtually anywhere at any time. As a result, individuals are generally more productive when they are at home, working longer hours and completing tasks more efficiently, Forbes noted.

The ongoing consumerization of IT is also impacting how companies use the cloud. As bring your own device and other mobile initiatives continue to pick up momentum, executives are implementing cloud infrastructure services because they are agnostic. This means people can use an iOS-based smartphone or an Android powered tablet without worrying that they won't be able to connect to mission-critical applications or information.

Furthermore, migrating a business phone system to the cloud allows organizations to support a number of unique features. These tools, which were either inaccessible on land line telephony platforms or too costly, give employees new opportunities to collaborate more efficiently with customers. Forbes highlighted the importance of this, noting that enterprises that fail to keep clients engaged and satisfied will have substantial difficulty attracting and converting future consumers. Because most people today are technologically savvy, they understand that a company that is not available 24 hours a day, seven days a week is simply being negligent. Who wants to do business with a firm like that?

The future of the cloud

Unlike some IT services that come and go, the cloud is expected to stick around for a long time. This is because the hosted solutions are highly adaptable, making them easy to change in order to keep up with technological innovation. This was highlighted in a recent Gartner report, which noted that the global public cloud market is forecast to generate $131 billion in revenue this year, up more than 18 percent from the $111 billion industry it was in 2012. But the cloud is a diverse market with numerous options to choose from, including cloud VoIP, storage or analytic solutions.

"The continued growth of the cloud services market will result from the adoption of cloud services for production systems and workloads, in addition to the development and testing scenarios that have led as the most prominent use case for public cloud services to date. Evidence of this growth is found in the increasing demand for cloud services from end-user organizations, met by an increased supply of cloud services from suppliers," said Ed Anderson, research director at Gartner.

As enterprises continue to adopt the cloud, the technology will inevitably mature, evolve and transform into an even more ubiquitous service that supports the way employees currently carry out operations and how they want to work in the future. Regarding communications, most phone systems will make their way to the cloud within the next few years, as executives understand that embracing this transformation will be critical to their ability to attract and retain employees.

Because every business is different, however, decision-makers need to be sure they map out their projects carefully and work with a trusted provider to find the solutions that best fit their corporate needs. If companies jump into the cloud without learning how using the technology will inevitably disrupt the way tasks are carried out, they will only encounter challenges and miss out on the advantages.