Only just under a third of the companies currently use a cloud telephony or telephone system. Providers still have to do educational work and overcome their customers’ fears.
To efficiently organize the collaboration between internal and external employees, many technology companies rely on modern communication solutions from the Cloud. This is shown by the results of the current study “Smart Business Communications 2019”, which the CIO and COMPUTERWOCHE have carried out together with the partners NFON, Placental / Cisco and Fuze.
To this end, 353 decision-makers from the DA-CH region were asked about their views, plans and projects relating to telephone systems, messaging, web and video conferences and collaboration tools such as chat rooms.
Companies today offer a wide variety of forms of communication for their employees, partners and customers. The most frequently used form of communication in companies is the IP telephone system (49 per cent), followed by e-mail (44 per cent), video telephony, mobile communications, instant messaging, the “classic” PBX and the cloud telephone system (31 per cent).
After all, a quarter of the companies use comprehensive UCC (Unified Communication & Collaboration) solutions. Big companies are pioneers here.
In a fifth of the companies, communication takes place via wiki, blog and social media, or employees exchange ideas in chat rooms (18 per cent). Also, the fax is needed still. Sixty-six per cent of those questioned agree or tend to agree with this statement. Surprisingly, only 14 per cent disagree with this statement. “Fax is necessary for law firms, be it as a physical device, as software fax or fax-to-e-mail.
But that’s a generation issue. Younger employees communicate differently and use most chat and collaboration services such as Slack, “says Michael Raußen, Head of Marketing at Placental / Cisco, a provider of virtual cloud telephone systems.” These platforms are easy to use and require little or nothing Training effort. “
Usability is significant and represents a significant challenge for providers of cloud communication solutions. There is still some catching up to do here. “Employees do not use many functions that they can work efficiently with because they simply do not know them.
When they notice that the solution is easy to use and helps them master their everyday problems, acceptance increases, becoming the functions. The appetite comes with the food, “explains Markus Krammer, Vice President Products & NewBusiness at NFON, a provider of cloud-based telephone systems.
But so far, cloud UCC solutions (25 per cent) and cloud telephony (31 per cent) have not yet made their breakthrough on the market. Markus Krammer sees excellent potential here for the future: “In this country alone we will need replacements for around 25 million desk telephones in the future.
When it comes to cloud telephony and communication, it is primarily a matter of taking away German companies’ fears and giving them the clear advantages of To show UCC solutions; since telephony is a business-critical one use represents, many customers still rely on on-premise solutions, but the trend is clearly towards the Cloud. “
Our workplace changes almost every day and adapts to the new communication needs of telephony, chat and video communication, continues Krammer.
He draws confidence from the upcoming generation change among decision-makers. In his opinion, the young managers rely heavily on flexible communication and support working from home much more than the current managers.
Roland Luck, Regional Vice President Germany at Fuze, a provider of cloud-based voice, video and collaboration solutions, has a nice story on the home office. At a mechanical engineering company based in the Bavarian Alpine foothills, it was not possible until recently for employees to work from home because the telephone system did not support this.
Then came the excellent snow chaos in January 2019. The problem: Many employees could not drive to the company for several days due to the catastrophic road conditions and were unproductive at home due to a lack of home office infrastructure.
“The cost of the downtime was enormous. This event radically changed the company’s attitudes towards cloud telephony – and we had a new customer for our solution.
But we still have to do educational work. Many companies do not know that they have their phones can easily switch and for a UC solution from the Cloud does not need a data line “, emphasizes Roland Luck.
It is different with providers of Voice over IP (VoIP). They have a big problem if the data line does not work Switching to the Cloud and the cellular network, “continues Luck.
The use of a cloud telecommunications system has many advantages. In the study “SmartBusiness According to Communications, “a third of companies are hoping for gifts such as flexibility in seasonal business or mobility, and a quarter of companies want to benefit from greater security, higher productivity, and seamless integration into business applications such as ERP or CRM systems Companies see the advantages of purchasing a cloud-based telecommunications system as a high level of security against failure through operation in redundant data centres or lower costs.
“Our customers tend to be smaller companies. They benefit from a high degree of flexibility, as they can book new functions quickly and easily on-demand at transparent costs. In addition, the costs for administration and maintenance are of course considerably lower,” says Michael Raußen from Placental / Cisco. Frequently, the advantages lie in the little things.
At Fuze, for example, it is possible at the push of a button to set up a flat rate for an employee who has to work in France for a limited period of four weeks. “In the Cloud, the world becomes a village.
Our customers are surprised by the ease of use and the configuration of new features. Companies no longer have to mess with a carrier and can keep the cost structure under control,” explains Roland Luck.
The issue of costs is an important point. Fuze, for example, calculates a business case for its customers and talks to the specialist departments about their experiences with the previous telephone system.
It often turns out that, on the one hand, the employees in the specialist departments need a lot of time to prepare and configure telephone conferences. Given these hidden costs, there is great potential for savings here.
On the other hand, some carriers do not break even and offer their services very cheaply to lure customers. Here the contracts are often staggered, with rising prices after about six months, or the flat rate only applies to limited minutes of calls.
“Customers should pay attention to the small print here. But I notice a strong ‘greed is cool’ mentality in some companies. Some people ask for the notice period when signing the contract and want to change after six months, then save costs.
That doesn’t help at all Cloudit’s more about productivity and high availability. A cloud connection is very fail-safe, “says Luck.
For Markus Krammer from NFON, the costs of cloud telephony are more of a secondary issue: “For B2B communication, productivity and greater efficiency will be decisive in the future.
In an increasingly complex and faster-working world, solutions that meet this need with simple and convenient means help and thus promote digitization and transformation. Many companies expect that everything is cheaper in the Cloud. I am only warning against price dumping here. “
For example, he cites the Fremium models, where the first 30 to 45 minutes are free before charges are incurred, or pooling packages. For the latter, a company with 50 workstations books ten complete UCC workstations from the Cloud, for example, and can then distribute them to the employees who need them.
If necessary, new seats can be booked quickly and efficiently and also used in the home office. Markus Krammer comments: “95 per cent of our customers enable their employees to work decentrally in their home office.
They use the technology to work efficiently and flexibly. In the contact centre, in particular, many agents work from home. A cloud service can be used to distribute the calls well. “
But a TC or UCC solution only brings real added value if integrated with other company systems. This is why 54 per cent of the companies surveyed for the study have already set up an interface in their telecommunications solution for connecting to IT systems such as ERP, CRM or HR.
This is especially true for large companies (64 per cent). The connection to directory services like the Active Directory with 48 per cent and the integration in CRM systems (e.g. Salesforce) with 47 per cent follow almost on par. Mobile integration is also essential.
The main aim of the integration with CRM solutions is to make customer service more efficient. The most critical aspects are relieving employees of time-consuming routine activities and optimal assignment of callers.
“Our customers appreciate the connection to CRM, for example, for the simple documentation of conversations or for reporting with a statistical analysis of telephone calls. The reports provide answers about the right time for calls to sell goods,” says Roland Luck.
Companies place diverse demands on providers and carriers of UC solutions. Most important to them is that the three UCC components, telephony, video conferencing and instant messaging, work together seamlessly.
Companies are demanding that the UC provider also act as a carrier and have UCC in their portfolio, i.e., cloud telephony, instant messaging, video conferences, screen sharing, and so on – and provide all of this internationally.
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