What is Driving Communications Toward the Cloud?

"More and more communications are moving to the cloud!" Is that a headline you’d believe, or would you place it in the over-used hype bucket?

Without fancy statistics to cite, I think it’s fair to say that if you asked any analyst, consultant, or vendor that lives inside the communications sector, you’d get agreement that some portion of communication purchases are moving to a hosted/service/cloud model — and that this trend will continue for the next several years. In talking to customers, here are what we’ve found to be the seven primary drivers contributing to the shift toward cloud-based communications: 

  1. Strategically, other IT applications are migrating to the cloud — So one of the drivers is that companies are making strategic decisions to obtain needed software applications as hosted services. This includes storage, email, CRM, and others. In some ways, communications is simply being caught up in a broader strategic initiative.
  2. Viable option for disaster recovery/business continuity — Companies that are nervous about losing all communication capabilities in the event of a disaster or significant business disruption are turing to off-site, geographically dispersed hosted communication providers as as primary business continuity partner. No need to replicate everything, but it enables you to affordably be able to continue to have basic communications in the event of a catastrophe. 
  3. Little/no up-front capital equipment expense — Two years ago, at the peak of the economic meltdown, this was the primary driver. It is still important today, but not the unique reason for moving to communications-as-a-service (CaaS). It does mean writing a lot smaller check up front and that appeals to buyers.
  4. Faster deployment — If you need to get a contact center up and deployed in three weeks time, your chances are much better with a CaaS offering.
  5. Reduced IT staff — This is really about corporate strategy. Companies want to focus on the business they are in, not on building out IT. So the chance to off-load the responsibility is something that many jump at.
  6. Elastic purchasing model — Cloud-based communications allows a more flexible plan of adding and contracting user counts as the needs of your business change.
  7. Quicker access to new features/functionality — With CaaS, gone are the days of the "all hands on deck, major upgrade cut-over." Instead, the CaaS provider introduces features as they become available.

So what has driven you toward a hosted offering? Can you add to the list? See anything that you don’t agree with? What driver would you put at the top of the list? Please add your comments to the discussion and thanks for reading.

Joe Staples 
Interactive Intelligence Inc.