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Making the shift: Why it’s time to move away from legacy voice systems and into the cloud

By Thomas Muller, National Director, Collaboration and Contact Centre Sales

A Bell expert offers insight about transitioning to the cloud.

By Thomas Muller, National Director, Collaboration and Contact Centre SalesEffective collaboration relies on employees knowing exactly how to reach each other. Because today’s modern workers are no longer tied to one location, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for companies still using legacy, on-premises voice systems. This is especially true for hybrid and remote workers.

Cloud-based solutions make it possible for employees to collaborate with customers, partners and colleagues from any location, on any device. While many companies feel tied to the hardware they have invested so much in over the years, the work required to transition is certainly worthwhile. Embracing the cloud is a fundamental step toward meeting the needs of the modern workforce. It offers more flexibility, lower costs, up-to-date technology and streamlined vendor management.  

Flexibility is key to the modern workplace

The modern workplace has been evolving in recent times, with the pandemic accelerating the transformation to remote and hybrid work. Collaboration was typically audio-first, via conference calls, and changed quickly to today’s video-first collaboration.

With different workstyles now the norm, the flexibility offered by cloud-based collaboration is table stakes for any organization looking to make collaboration more effective and responsive. Employees want to be able to attend a video call on a laptop at their desk, then move into the boardroom and continue that same call using the room’s conferencing capabilities, and then continue the conversation with their mobile phone while commuting home. They are looking for seamless connectivity wherever they are across wired and wireless devices, a term known as fixed-mobile convergence. That’s the promise of the modern workplace: moving seamlessly from one location to another for real-time collaboration, anywhere you go. 

Where legacy, premises-based voice systems fall short

Not every business can deliver on the promise of the modern workplace, largely due to their current reliance on premises-based equipment like desk phones, PBX systems, servers and other on-site hardware needed to route calls. In the PBX space, for instance, the market share for on-premises systems is still around 40%, despite the growth of unified communications as a service (UCaaS).

It’s easy to understand why some companies are hesitant to change. Many have invested a lot in physical assets and feel it’s better to stick with existing equipment rather than upgrade again. Others may question whether new technology is the best option to meet their business needs. They may be concerned that they will be left behind should technology change again. Another common concern is the reliability and resiliency of the cloud to maintain business operations if the cloud infrastructure goes offline.

However, the reality is that businesses will soon have to move beyond legacy, premises-based systems, since managing a variety of components from multiple vendors can be complex and expensive. For example, once deployed, on-site telephony systems cannot easily scale without additional investment in time and resources. Additionally, as hardware breaks down or reaches end of life, those assets all need to be replaced, perpetuating the cycle.

Managing multiple on-premises technologies and vendors can also add complexity to maintaining older systems – not to mention integrating them with newer technology. This can become a challenge on its own. As hardware upgrades for end-of-life technology become more complex and maintenance costs increase, you may not be able to stay updated with the latest features and functionalities.

To remove these complexities and support your modern workforce efficiently and cost-effectively, now is the right time to move to the cloud. 

Making the transition into the cloud

Cloud solutions provide the tools to meet the growing demands of customers and employees. However, there are many cloud-based voice and collaboration solutions available in the market, so determining which one is the best fit for your business can be difficult. You first need to know where you want to go with the cloud, based on your broader organizational strategy for digital transformation – whether it’s moving to newer, more modern technology, lowering costs, streamlining system upgrades, or (in many cases) a combination of these.

To minimize disruptions during the transition, you need to carefully plan for the impact the change will have on your people. That means clearly communicating how the new systems will make work easier. It also means involving the right people – early in the process – who can champion the change and guide your business through it.  

Combining voice and cloud collaboration

An ideal roadmap is one that brings voice and collaboration functionality together in the cloud to address your different work style needs. One way to get started is with a cloud-based solution like Bell Operator Connect for Microsoft Teams. This solution is ideal for remote and hybrid workers. It combines Microsoft Teams’ collaboration capabilities with Bell’s voice network, giving employees seamless collaboration, regardless of device or location. For frontline workers and other special voice needs, Bell Operator Connect can be combined with solutions like Bell Total Connect to offer advanced telephone features and additional voice resiliency options to meet these unique needs.

Overall, there are many factors to consider and options to explore. Our experts are here to help you chart out your cloud roadmap and recommend the right solutions. Let us help you make the shift away from legacy, premises-based systems and into the cloud, so that you too can meet the needs of the modern workforce with greater flexibility and lower costs. Contact us to start the discussion today.