Benefits Every Small Business Leader Needs to Know
You just need one good reason to shift your communication infrastructure to the cloud. If you’re like most small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), those reasons can be hard to come by. Whether it’s cost concerns, resource limitations or the feeling that they can get along just fine without the cloud, many SMBs have valid reasons why they’re putting off a cloud transition project. Those reasons don’t change the fact that the cloud is here, and many SMBs just like you are already realizing its benefits.
If you (or any other stakeholders at your business) have lingering concerns or hesitations about cloud communications, it helps to understand how the move to the cloud will benefit you, your people and your business.
Here are the six biggest wins you’ll achieve as a decision maker when you invest in cloud-based communication technologies.
1. Improved Compliance and Security
Hackers love SMBs. For this reason, lax cybersecurity practices and residential, siloed or legacy technologies are a huge risk to your network. Imagine a disgruntled employee leaves your company but still has the dial-in number to your GoToMeeting bridge or the password to your Zoho account written on a sticky note. He could log in, listen to phone calls and have access to sensitive data in the blink of an eye. Or, if you have mobile employees, think about how much they spin up residential apps outside of your firewalls to communicate about business or customer matters. These are massive security vulnerabilities and potential compliance violations that get mitigated when you centralize all your communication infrastructure in the cloud, where you can secure your applications and data centrally while setting up universal policies according to your unique compliance requirements.
2. Better Cost Control
Consider the hardware investments alone of onboarding a new employee. In addition to individually purchasing, setting up and configuring new desktop and phone systems, you have to provision new licenses for all of your business systems like CRM and Microsoft Office — again, all individually.
Unifying your communication stack in the cloud allows you to simplify the process and reduce overhead costs when it’s time to add new users. Just provision one license for one platform as opposed to provisioning licenses for multiple disparate systems on top of purchasing and maintaining hardware. This leads to dramatic cost savings on the setup and maintenance of your communication technology (and hardware).
3. Enhanced Business Intelligence
The cloud can give you an unprecedented look into your business, complete with insight into how your employees use their technology, what tools or applications are being underutilized and where you have opportunities to reduce unnecessary costs and streamline inefficiencies. For example, a cloud PBX system can help you track and report on how many phone calls your sales team makes, how long those phone calls last and whether they result in opportunities or conversions, enabling you to create tighter attribution models and highlight your high (and low) performers.
4. Increased Technology Capabilities
One of the greatest benefits of cloud technologies is how much they can increase your collaboration capabilities through the power of integration. At many small businesses, the phone system is an island that forces tasks like making CRM updates, sending follow-up emails and creating customer service tickets to be extra steps in the communication process. Through cloud and unified communications, this is no longer the case. These solutions integrate with your other business systems so you can seamlessly collect and pass data across your disparate applications. Naturally, this leads to massive efficiency and productivity gains.
5. Happier Users
Employees have spoken, and they want unified communications in the cloud. According to RingCentral’s report, From Workplace Chaos to Zen: How App Overload is Reshaping the Digital Workplace, 66% of employees want a singular communications platform, citing the overwhelming sprawl of applications they currently have to manage.
On top of this, the workforce is getting younger — fast. The Brookings Institution estimates that millennials will make up as much as 75% of the workforce by 2025. As revealed in Deloitte’s 2017 Millennial Survey, this is a generation that values workday flexibility and the ability to work from home, benefits that get handcuffed when collaboration technology is largely housed on premises.
Whether your workforce has voiced their frustration about your legacy technology or they’re seemingly content to keep on keeping on, it’s worth entertaining (and communicating) the potential upside of shifting communication infrastructure to the cloud. Starting this dialogue at all levels of the organization is also a tremendous opportunity to better understand the needs of your people and build trust and transparency.
6. Future-Proofed Business
With legacy, on-premises communication technology, consider a few scenarios:
- What happens when your hardware goes down?
- How much work goes into setting up new employees on your systems?
- What do you do when an employee can’t come into the office?
- How will you approach surges of growth when you need to expand offices and hire more talent?
There’s no telling what the future holds for your business, but it’s likely you will run into a few of these questions. Answering them gets tougher when you have to physically manage hardware.
Having infrastructure in the cloud enables you to address these scenarios smoothly and affordably. For instance, you can add employees to your communication suite at the touch of a button, put them through one set of training and set them loose to access your business-critical applications from any device anywhere in the world.
Ready to Take the Next Step in Your Cloud Transition?
The best part about shifting to the cloud is that it’s not an all-or-nothing endeavor. So if you’re really focused on achieving just one or two of these benefits, or you’re after all six, you can transition to the cloud in the way that’s most comfortable for your business. You don’t have to rip and replace your entire infrastructure and you don’t have to sign your life away in one massive contract — in fact, with most cloud solutions, you’ll only be paying for what you use! You can progress through your cloud transition in increments, and the right partner will help you every step of the way.
You can get a sneak peek at what your transition to the cloud might look like by reading our article, “Charting Your Path to the Cloud.”