Demand For Hosted Services Growing
There are a number of different considerations that need to be made when addressing enterprise communications. As the requirements of workers and customers alike continue to change, the first thing that has to be examined is the state of the current telecom network. Many organizations are still in possession of fully-capable legacy systems, and are able to adapt them for cloud functionality through the use of assets like SIP trunking.
"SIP offers a degree of mobility that was never achieved with these previous IP protocols," wrote No Jitter contributor Andrew Prokop. "Users became untethered from traditional desk phones and moved their enterprise telephony to PCs, tablets and smart phones."
But there are other businesses that find themselves basically putting bandages on broken networks. Augmenting these systems is going to do very little. What's more, some organizations may have found that they can no longer continue on with their existing solutions, and need to explore different avenues to enable their workers better.
This is where hosted services come in. Rather than patch up phone connections that have outlived their inherent usefulness, companies that are in need of cloud VoIP capabilities may have to invest in a provider - one that manages the infrastructure off-site and can assist the client organization with all of their specific requirements.
Hosted Services On The Rise
For the companies that are seeking more flexibility from their communications systems, hosted solutions can be a blessing. Rather than bog down in-house tech workers with the maintenance and upkeep of failing networks, many organizations are finding that subscribing to full-service VoIP and unified communications solutions are an easy way to free up time for more mission-specific IT work around the office without skimping on the utilities that modern employees need.
This concept is not just representative of a few early adopters, but of the enterprise world at-large. According to Frost & Sullivan research vice president Melanie Turek, a recent study from her firm found that the market for hosted VoIP and UC in North America has grown by 30.5 percent since 2012. This represents an increase of 1.2 million users of these assets in that time, bringing the current total to 5 million.
Prokop believes that the simplicity of hosted services is helping to drive growth as companies look to move away from their existing networks.
"Now that we've taken communications servers off proprietary hardware; telephones off legacy form factors, interfaces and wiring; maintenance off green-screen consoles and have transformed call control links - why not push everything into the cloud and be done with ownership altogether? Well, that's exactly the direction that many enterprises are headed," Prokop wrote. "When all you need to do is point your Web browser or smart phone to an IP address, you have truly turned your communications system into just another service on the World Wide Web."
This is the kind of streamlined attitude that is helping to propel businesses into the 21st century.
Changing Times Call For New Technology
There has been a lot that's changed regarding how people view communications - especially within the enterprise. Traditional infrastructures are being deployed much less frequently now that their inherent shortcomings are starting to be more pronounced. Siloed communications may have once been the standard, but they are too cumbersome in the modern day to be viable.
"Not that long ago, there was a clear separation between an enterprise's Web and telephony infrastructures," Prokop stated. "They ran on separate servers, utilized a different wiring system, lived in their own physical spaces, and were managed by separate groups of people. The skills to configure, maintain, and troubleshoot one were not the skills required by the other, and for all practical purposes, they were two distinct islands floating in the same corporate sea."
But times change, and rather than build and manage new networks on-site, more organizations are realizing that they can get more from a hosted provider than they can from following the old standards of enterprise telecom. Voice not only has to be available in the cloud, but it has to successfully interact with other channels like email, instant messaging and video within the same application. Transcribing voicemail to email, for example, is one of the innovative tools that modern employees are starting not only to demand, but expect.
Knowing When To Go With Hosted Services
Adapting a legacy system is not always possible. While it can end up being the perfect fit for some, other companies may have to take their hands off the wheel a little bit and trust the upkeep of their networks to an outside company. This is not something to fear, but to embrace. Just like an office place does not pump its own water or provide its own Internet access, businesses have to realize that providing their own communications systems when their current ones are failing is not the best solution.
For those organizations that are looking for a new telecom infrastructure to call their own, hosted services need to be sought out.