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Looking to Save on IT? Cloud Phone Systems Can Help

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ShoreTel Cloud Phone System

The cloud has transformed the way we think about technology in many instances and, in particular, how businesses communicate. Cloud-based phone systems provide businesses with a new alternative to on-premise VoIP and traditional communications options and offer numerous benefits.

Cloud-based phone systems reduce IT workload

An average IT department will spend approximately 35 percent of their time fixing problems with existing hardware and software, writes Tech Radar. The same Compuware survey of over 300 IT directors also indicated that dealing with unplanned issues resulted in the decreased success rates of IT projects: 65 percent of these projects were deemed failures.

"The only way that IT directors will be able to resolve these issues is by finding a better way of managing their infrastructure and services. By freeing up their time from dealing with unplanned disruptions, IT teams will be able to concentrate,” states Michael Allen, EMEA Strategic Director at Compuware.

Without making a change, the amount of time spent fixing problems is going to increase as businesses embrace additional communication methods.

“Businesses use a plethora of communications tools including: telephony; e-mail; voice and unified messaging; presence, instant messaging and chat; audio, web, and video conferencing; content and file sharing; mobility; and more. IT staff is increasingly overwhelmed with both the workload and challenges of deploying, managing, and maintaining a continually expanding set of IP-based communications tools,” reports the research firm Frost & Sullivan.

Cloud-based phone systems delegate the responsibility of deploying and providing support for communications services to the service provider.

“Outsourced solutions provide access to a larger pool of technology expertise and enable businesses to reduce the costs associated with hiring, training, and retraining skilled IT staff,” states Frost & Sullivan.

Conversely, operating an in-house VoIP system requires a specialized skill set that will require hiring IT technicians solely to operate the system, taking away capital from an organization’s core competency.

Reduced equipment costs

An on-premise VoIP system requires an investment in equipment: physical phones, servers, infrastructure upgrades and software licenses. The equipment will also require maintenance and eventual upgrades as the business grows.

Cloud-based phone systems make use of the infrastructure owned and managed by the service provider. This allows services to flexibly grow alongside the growth of the business.

“Decreasing hardware prices, improved voice quality resulting from advances in codecs, and tight service level agreements (SLAs) have fueled the drive toward hosted [VoIP] services. Hosted services allow businesses with limited budgets and staff to balance the cost of a more efficient communication system with a level of available productivity,” writes Computer Weekly.

Looking beyond the initial cost

“Many IP Telephony buyers continue to make new purchase decisions based predominantly on up-front costs, however, the recurring operating costs for IPT often exceed four times acquisition cost over the life of the system. Research has shown that these operating costs correlate closely with the complexity of implementing, managing and supporting the underlying technology. Conversely, solutions that reduce complexity and simplify management result in lower TCO,” states Tom Pisello, Chairman of Alinean, Inc.

Being able to accurately estimate the long-term costs of any IT service requires detailed data, spot-on projections and careful analysis. ShoreTel has developed a TCO Tool that aims to help IT managers and decision makers create accurate ROI projections when considering moving to managed VoIP.