Greater efficiencies reduced OPEX and CAPEX, and streamlined business growth: it’s no wonder companies across all industries are turning to the cloud. Jorn Vercamert, VP, Communications Solutions at BICS, examines the benefits of cloud-based communications solutions, which can deliver a boost to business, quality of service, and customer satisfaction.

Ninety-five percent of respondents to a recent survey are using the cloud, with the majority adopting a hybrid approach which utilises both public and private services. The digitalisation of life and work across an array of industries has allowed new start-ups to enter the marketplace and forced incumbents to up their game. Developments in technology and connectivity have offered opportunities as well as challenges, requiring businesses to keep up with rapid rates of change. In this competitive climate, a business must be able to operate, grow and deliver on customer expectations easily and affordably, or risk losing out to rivals.

Cloud technology and services have been around for some years now, with solutions providers now offering advanced, low-cost tools which are accessible to all businesses. These have allowed companies to take advantage of virtualized environments to store and move data, backup files and information in case of a server crash, and move assets off-site, thus freeing up resources. With the cloud market maturing, the cost savings versus traditional business strategies have become apparent. One report found that 45% of virtualized operating system instances running on-premises would be more economical if they were running in the cloud, offering cost savings of up to 43% annually.

Fewer expenses are of course great news for any organisation. For start-ups and small businesses, the financial savings delivered by the cloud enable rapid business growth while ensuring a high quality of customer service is maintained. In addition to moving services, data storage and processing to the cloud, many businesses are now starting to realise the benefits of moving communications to a virtualised environment. Adopting a cloud strategy for communications is particularly important for those companies looking to extend their global reach, allowing them to tap into new markets through borderless, secure and scalable connectivity.

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Cloud communication services reduce the total cost of ownership by minimising investments in physical equipment and infrastructure, while still providing the flexibility to scale the services when required. Cloud adoption and easy-to-integrate APIs from third parties have made a huge range of global communications services, both national and international, more accessible. Forward-looking CTOs with a view to scaling up their business can partner with globally-oriented service providers, which have the expertise and resources to bridge communication services directly to each local in-country provider.

These services bring particular benefits to unified communication providers, cloud PBX providers, contact centres, conferencing service providers and digital service providers, which face an additional challenge when looking to scale their business internationally; retaining a local presence and links with their customers.

Businesses can take advantage of – for example, local, toll-free numbers – provided by cloud-based service, which allows customers, end users and their businesses to be visible in the local telephone directory. This provides customers with a low-cost, or free means of getting in contact with a company in a specific region, even if they are physically located elsewhere.

This local presence can help a company strengthen its customer service offering; a call centre, for example, can offer accessible, high-quality 24/7 contact to its customer base. Conference service providers, meanwhile, will be able to use local and global toll-free numbers to provide their customers with the connectivity needed to organise meetings on-the-go. Mobile working is an accepted part many businesses today, many of which require tools to facilitate this easily and without hefty implementation and operational costs.

Organisations which have moved data and processes to a cloud environment will have undoubtedly realised significant cost savings; the same applies to migrating communications to the cloud. Many cloud-based comms services are based on a pay-as-you-go model, meaning significant outlays are replaced by affordable subscription fees, whereby a company will only pay for the services it uses, when it uses them. This is beneficial for new market entrants, as it removes the need for one-off investments. For established players too there are benefits, enabling the low-cost launch and quick time to market for new service offerings.

The scalable, flexible nature of cloud communication services is also good news for business. Traditionally, a company may oversee quite a large hardware and IT infrastructure stack, though due to changing demands on services, not all of this would be used all of the time. Cloud comms services are scalable and can be expanded and scaled back to trial new services, and respond to varying demands.

Business success is dependent on effective communication, whether this is between colleagues, customers, or end-users. Businesses of any size can now ensure that this communication is robust, secure, reliable and low-cost, by migrating communications services to the cloud.

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Jorn Vercamert has over 15 years of experience in the International Wholesale Telecommunications, he joined the International Division of Belgacom in 1998 which was then spun-off and merged with Swisscom International and MTN International into BICS.

He started his career at BICS as Voice Buying Manager end held various voice development positions after that. In 2004 he was appointed as Regional VP in charge of the business development in Southern Europe, Africa and Middle East. After successfully grown BICS footprint in that region, he relocated to Switzerland in 2007 where he was appointed as Managing Director for BICS Switzerland AG, overlooking activities in Central and Eastern Europe. He moved back to BICS headquarters in 2011 at which time he took his current role as VP Communications Solutions in charge of operating and growing BICS communications solutions portfolio.

He holds a Master Degree in Applied Economics specialized in International Business Management from the Leuven University and a Master Degree in Science of Marketing from the Vlerick Management School in Leuven.