What's Next in Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing has established its place in modern IT organizations, helping enterprises become more agile while keeping costs in line. In addition to applications such as messaging, storage and CRM, technology innovators are applying what they’ve learned to business communications. A recent study by IDG Research Services explores how and why enterprises are taking communications into the cloud.
A recent online poll by IDG Research Services concludes that business communications is poised to be on the next big wave of cloud-bound applications. Key findings include:
• A majority of companies are bringing business communications into the cloud.
• Compelling business benefits and a healthy ROI are driving migration.
• Experienced applications vendors are the partners of choice in that migration.
“Cloud-based communications isn’t a product out looking for a problem,” said Shaheen Haque, territory manager of the Middle East and Turkey for Interactive Intelligence, a provider of business communications software and services based in Indianapolis. “In contrast, cloud-based communications is a solution laced with many benefits — making for a very compelling business case.” And that has CIOs ready to hit the wave.
Communications Goes to the Cloud
Cloud service delivery is a new way to deploy applications. Since its inception, it has quickly evolved into a strategic directive for many companies. “It’s a way for companies to focus on their core business, offloading IT management to trusted third parties,” Haque explained.
IDG Research Services queried approximately 150 technology and business leaders across a range of industries. The research found that 81 percent of responding companies are already using or planning to use cloud-based applications.
One application that is cresting the adoption wave is business communications. The function includes such business-essential applications as inbound and outbound call center automation, interactive voice response and more. In general, 54 percent of respondents indicate that business communications applications are a good fit for cloud delivery.
“Cloud delivery is applicable across the whole spectrum of business communications applications — from basic PBX functionality to sophisticated call center technology,” Haque noted. “There’s really no limit to the possibilities.”
Cloud Concerns Diminish
Receptiveness to cloud-based business communications solutions is on the rise, with 80 percent of respondents indicating that their interest level has increased or remained the same in the past 12 months. Most respondents’ concerns reflect the challenges that once plagued early adopters of cloud service delivery, but the industry has come a long way toward overcoming barriers such as concerns about lack of security and application reliability.
The biggest intangible concern is the culture shift, indicated by 50 percent of respondents. “Some IT professionals have spent their entire careers in server rooms dealing with data feeds and product rollouts,” Haque said. “Now someone else does much of the work, and that’s a huge cultural change. CIOs need executive-level support and acceptance from their employees. If this step is missed, the company will be in for culture shock and its resulting ramifications.”
The Bottom Line
CIOs have tested the water with other applications. “They’ve had their successes with applications like messaging and CRM, so moving business communications into the cloud is the logical next step,” Haque said.