Cloud based phone systems offer businesses unparalleled flexibility through an ever growing variety of expansive features and applications. In doing so, these systems store and transfer data over the Internet through various networks and mobile/wireless devices.  As such, users do not need hardware/equipment as the cloud provider supplies all the necessary tools offsite. With this layout, the cloud platform is able to grow and change to meet user demands as they develop. As with any industry, there are always new trends on the horizon. We’ve collected four of the most popular cloud based phone system trends.

Options: As the cloud platform continues to garner attention, options look set to expand even further. The cloud allows users to utilize their system whichever way best suits them. A good example can be seen with mobility options. Although the cloud already allows users to access their systems from anywhere via mobile phones supported integration, mobile apps, softphones, and more, mobile functionality looks to grow with users’ needs. For example, mobile VoIP and BYOD adoption have dramatically altered the workplace environment. In doing so, users now want and/or require greater mobile functionality to account for these changes. As such, cloud providers are sure to pursue it.

Separate from mobility, cloud systems allow for much greater customization. As such, users are able to pick and choose services that are best for their businesses. For example, RingCentral offers cloud based service, which allows businesses to customize their system according to users, departments, and call handling rules. In doing so, users are sure to increase their systems overall efficiency—and subsequently their overall productivity. Even if customization is not as available, there are a variety of different cloud providers available; therefore, users can still choose a system that works best for their intended use.

Additionally, with a variety of options available, pricing and equipment are variables too. While cloud solutions don’t require hardware, users still need handsets/phones. Also, different feature sets are usually tied to pricing tiers; therefore, users can choose the solution best for their company size and budget.

Cloud CRM:  In the cloud, CRM, or Corporate Responsibility Management, helps businesses harness and utilize customer data in order to turn better customer service. In doing so, the CRM helps users collect and analyze data to provide improved customer service. Typically, this technology can be found in IT-based environment; however, now the cloud has enabled this software to work over the Internet. As a result, businesses’ entire staffs are able to access information in real time—which boosts employee interconnectivity. Additionally, this helps cut customer service time and costs without cutting quality. That being said, Cloud CRM looks to be a very useful tool for businesses moving forward.

Cloud Integrations: Cloud Integrations allow for applications and programs to share data and collaborate in the cloud. With a cloud based phone system, cloud integration allows users to connect their data with various applications and databases. With this integration, clouds are able to import, load, export, or replicate data to create an all inclusive infrastructure.  For example, a popular integration is Outlook. Vocalocity Office offers users Outlook integration, which allows users to integrate contacts with their phone system, click to dial straight from Outlook, initiate calls from various Outlook views, and much more. Separate from Vocalocity, the Outlook integration essentially allows users to link their phone system with the Outlook program—which then allows users to bring business resources into their cloud environment.

Typically, cloud integrations involve different connections: on premise tools (with special connectors to access cloud apps), tools hosted in the cloud, and Integration as a Service or On Demand Integration (which is the easiest method). Regardless of the mode, cloud integrations ultimately consolidate users cloud infrastructures, allowing cloud systems to access and utilize other applications, softwares, etc.

Continuity: In the same vein as security, the need for system continuity and redundancy is essential. System outages are inevitable; however, there are a number of redundancies that can be put into place to ensure users’ systems are backed up. Last year, the East Coast experienced super-storm Sandy. During and after the storm, many users were left without a working system—some for extended periods of time. Since then, there has been a renewed interest in disaster recovery, system redundancy, and continuity. Cloud based phones work over the Internet; therefore, users need to be sure their providers have protocols in place to provide both on and off site infrastructure. Additionally, in the event of a service outage, users need to be sure their system will return quickly.

The cloud platform offers a number of benefits businesses shouldn’t ignore. As such, the platform keeps growing with extended functionality and capability. Cloud based phones allow users much more flexibility; therefore, the platform is able to grow and meet new demands as they arise.

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