According to analyst IDC enterprise CEOs globally are moving DX (digital transformation) to the centre of their strategy in order to achieve growth and more than half of IT budgets will be consumed on DX by 2020.
But what exactly does digital transformation mean and what business benefits can it deliver in the shape of competitive advantage, cost-savings and more flexibility.
If you’re considering an upgrade of your telephone system, one of the key elements of DX involves replacing legacy voice communications systems (PBX) and ISDN trunks with an all-IP network over which cloud based applications are deployed.
Everything will be IP within the next 10 years
There are many reasons why businesses need to upgrade their communications system such as withdrawal of support, expensive moves, adds and changes (MACs) as a business grows, or even the introduction of more flexible working, enabling staff to work remotely, on the road or at home. However the other key incentives for businesses to ditch their existing phone system are associated with the advantages that ‘All-IP’ and DX deliver such as the flexibility to operate in a different way, and to keep up with other digitally savvy competitors.
A catalyst that is prompting businesses to act now when it comes to their communications is the fact that in less than 10 years’ time (2025), British Telecom is set to pull the plug on the ISDN network altogether in favour of a completely IP infrastructure featuring VoIP and SIP trunking.
Cloud or on-premises?
If you are considering making a move to VoIP then the next step is to assess whether you go with a CAPEX-based on-premises solution or a cloud-based, ‘software as a service’ (SaaS)/hosted voice model. Either option is now possible or you can even adopt a hybrid approach where you have a mixture of both.
Many of the new cloud-based telephony options are just that, and are only available as a virtual offering with a pay-as-you-go model. This is certainly appealing to start-up businesses who may wish to know exactly what their monthly costs will be and don’t want the up-front capital investment of owning a system.
The drawback of such vanilla offerings though is that they often have a basic feature-set with minimal scope to integrate with your other office applications, which is really where the benefits of unified communications and connectivity begin to add value to your business and ensure you take full advantage of becoming a true digital operation.
However this route does not work for everyone or may not be appropriate for all locations. The benefit of software-based solutions such as Swyx is that it works on either model and there are greater possibilities to enhance your communications by linking them to other resources such as your CRM or accounts system.
When considering cloud it is also important to understand that there is a distinction between ‘public cloud’ and ‘private cloud’. For instance with public cloud there may be security implications regarding where the data is located/backed up and who has access out of hours. When choosing, it is crucial to ask about the differences and the long-term costs of a public versus private model.
A joined up approach – the best of all worlds
If you choose a solution that is interchangeable between cloud and on-premises you can potentially reap the benefits of both. For example it’s easy and affordable to pilot a cloud solution in the first instance, but you could later choose to own the solution. This way you can save money over the long-term but still retain the flexibility of cloud either via a dedicated cloud provider or a reseller who has the capability to host all your applications in a private datacentre, so all your systems can talk to each other. Larger companies might even opt to own the technology but host it in their own datacentre.
According to Harvard Business Review, 84 percent of CEOs believe digital disruption is inevitable and nearly 50 percent think the way they currently do business will be out of date by the end of this decade. If you want to take advantage of becoming a digital business, then changing your communications could be the first piece of the puzzle.
Find out more about the benefits of upgrading your communications and download Swyx’s free guide to everything you need to know about ‘All-IP’: www.swyx.com/all-IP