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Report: 70 percent of executives are 'cloud believers'

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Companies around the world are using cloud services for a variety of reasons, encouraging them to invest more in the solutions as the technology evolves.

The evolving cloud computing landscape holds promise in virtually every aspect of IT, including the way people communicate and carry out fundamental business tasks. Rather than using antiquated land line phone systems, for example, enterprises are using cloud VoIP. Meanwhile, organizations are using cloud storage archives instead of tape backup and other technologies that are quickly becoming antiquated. Basically, the cloud is the future and is consuming enterprise strategies one solution at a time.

Simultaneously, however, a new schism is beginning to emerge in the business world between cloud believers and individuals who think legacy solutions are still getting the job done. While both sides of the argument have a point, the underlying truth is that using the cloud comes down to preference. Although neglecting the cloud may make it difficult to carry out mission-critical as quickly as firms that are using the hosted services, this does not necessarily mean that non-cloud companies will be left in the dust, abandoned and alone.

A recent Evolve IP study of more than 1,100 North American employees who consider themselves involved in the IT procurement process found that 70 percent of C-level executives believe they are "cloud believers" in the sense that they see the technological future of their organization residing in the cloud. The study found that 53 percent of IT managers see themselves the same way, suggesting that the majority of the business world is making its way toward the cloud.

"The survey data reflects what we see in our business every day. Most businesses already have at least one hosted service running but in some organizations not everyone is in complete alignment regarding putting multiple services in the cloud. Executives want the cost and disaster avoidance benefits while security, privacy and compliance are typical initial concerns brought up by the managers responsible for implementation," said Guy Fardone, general manager and chief operating officer of Evolve IP.

Because organizations are on various cloud pages, decision-makers need to be proactive and develop a plan that will make migrating to the cloud and taking full advantage of the services as easy as possible.

The different cloud stances

Businesses around the world have taken different approaches, as some companies have used the technology to augment existing office phone systems and other communication platforms, while others have given a boost to their disaster recovery endeavors. Regardless of how many evangelists there are in the organization, however, the fact of the matter is that most companies are already using some form of cloud services.

The survey revealed that the average use of cloud services within medium-sized companies is using 2.5 clouds. Yet in firms with more believers, this number jumps to 3.1 cloud solutions. Overall, roughly 75 percent of respondents plan on investing more in hosted technologies during the next three years. This trend was even prevalent among non-cloud users, of which 52 percent said they intend to leverage some form of the cloud by 2016.

Businesses often have broad ideals for the cloud, though several trends emerged within the overarching cloud plans. Evolve IP found that 17 percent of decision-makers intend to incorporate the cloud into their phone systems. This is primarily because hosted PBX solutions are not only more cost-effective than their legacy counterparts, but they are also more scalable, flexible and adaptable - three critical characteristics that will help organizations embrace next-generation strategies in the coming years.

Why use a cloud phone system?

As the communications landscape changes, business executives are finding themselves increasingly pressured to deploy cloud-based phone systems to support a remote workforce and the ongoing adoption of mobile devices in the office. This was highlighted in a recent study by a major telecommunications provider, which found that the proliferation of bring your own device and cloud applications in the enterprise is leading many employees and managers to be disappointed in how well their legacy solutions function.

"The old-guard on-premise PBX was designed for the 1980s - an era when all employees came into the office, used desktops not laptops and didn't own or carry mobile devices. The way we work and communicate has changed profoundly since then. And the on-premise PBX can't keep technological pace with today's new mobility-centric business needs," telecom expert Curtis Peterson said.

As the business world changes, the IT landscape used to enhance operations will also evolve. Forward-thinking executives need to consider embracing these transformations to stay competitive and provide employees with the tools they need to carry out mission-critical tasks in a timely and efficient manner.

By planning ahead and working with a trusted service provider, organizations of all sizes can leverage the cloud services they need to keep innovation alive in the workplace.