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Looking Back At The Year In The Cloud

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In order to know where you're going, you have to know where you've been, and as 2013 flips to 2014, it's a good idea for businesses to take the time to look back at where cloud communications have been in the last year. 

As 2013 draws to a close, many of the business trends of the last 12 months are beginning to come into focus. This is especially true when it comes to the cloud. The last year saw a growing prevalence of everything from cloud computing to cloud VoIP, and as businesses look forward to 2014, it would be wise to reflect on what ground has been covered in the recent past. There have been certain trends in particular that have stood out, according to InfoWorld.

Growing Role In Marketing

Making use of the cloud has become a popular trend in nearly ever facet of business operations, and this was certainly the case when it comes to the marketing department. Experts say that companies have a growing tendency to go outside of their internal IT departments to release Web and mobile apps in an effort to build their brand and spread their message. This outsourcing has led to many success stories, but according to InfoWorld, it's important for internal IT and management to involved in the development to avoid any potential pitfalls.

Contact Centers Adapt

Although 2013 wasn't the first time that contact centers made use of cloud business phone systems, their use did spike considerably in recent months. According to a recent study from Aberdeen Group, approximately 34 percent of contact centers used cloud-based infrastructure in 2012. Experts estimate that figure increased considerably in 2013, and with good reason, according to Spoken.com. Among the many advantages afforded by cloud communications is that such tools can save businesses a considerable amount of money. Experts estimate that a 1,000-seat cloud implementation could save a firm more than $3 million over the course of five years. In fact, its use could increase by as much as 45 percent a year over the next two years.

Continued Increase Of BYOD

Working from home has become a popular option among companies, and that trend continued in 2013. Not only can it save businesses money by cutting down on infrastructure costs and increasing employee productivity, but it provides more flexibility to the workers themselves. This was especially prevalent in contact centers, according to Spoken.com. In 2013, there were approximately 310,000 home-based agents, which was nearly three times as many as in 2007 when there were slightly more than 100,000 such agents. 

Federal Government Gets On Board

While private companies have been turning to the cloud for several years, it was not until 2013 that the Federal Government decided to do so as well. According to The Washington Post, between October 2012 and September 2013, the government granted more than $17 billion in contracts to private enterprises to help them make the transition. In fact, nearly every agency made some sort of cloud adaptation in 2013. The one agency that has yet to commit? The Department of Defense, which still has concerns over whether it can find suitable security measures, according to the newspaper.

The Rise Of Hybrid Cloud

Although the advantages of turning to the cloud are well known, some businesses may be hesitant to make a full-scale adaptation. Instead, many companies are electing to go with the so-called hybrid cloud. This version refers to an environment where an enterprise provides some form of the cloud operation while outsourcing some of the others, rather than making one commitment one way or the other. According to Rackspace, approximately 50 percent of cloud buyers expect to deploy their solutions in a hybrid manner.

There are many advantages to going with the hybrid cloud, according to experts, but one of the most evident is that it provides a greater sense of control. Rather than turning all of the operations over to a third party, they retain some management, which can help alleviate some security concerns. At the same time, they can hand over some of the most problematic aspects of cloud communications to experts and companies who know best.