The Top 12 Reasons to Invest in the Cloud Today

Many authors, including myself, have written about the benefits of the cloud in its many forms, yet there have been very few detailed case studies on the hard benefits and savings we expect. Given the dearth of hard evidence, I felt many would benefit from the results of a recent private cloud study by Forrester.

Forrester Research performed one of its forward thinking Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) studies on the potential return on investment (ROI) enterprises might realize by leveraging a private/hybrid cloud model, versus a traditional CAPEX communications solution approach.

Forrester took a look at how cloud services for unified communications and contact centers are benefiting five companies. They interviewed companies that had outdated legacy communications environments that included different types of solutions.

ROI Calculator: Calculate what you could save by moving to the cloud

In several cases, the companies had solutions managed by disparate third parties providing inconsistent service experiences. Costs were increasing. All of the subject companies had a goal of reducing capital expenditures while transforming and evolving their communications environment. The five companies consisted of the following:

  • A global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries
  • A U.S.-based medical and research organization that started with 1,500 users and grew to 4,000 users
  • A UK-based insurance company with a multivendor contact center and UC solution serving more than 10,000 users
  • A U.S.-based provider of electronic design automation and semiconductor solutions with a solution covering 6,500 endpoints in more than 50 offices across the globe.
  • A diversified technology company with operations in more than 150 countries, which requires dedicated on-site support for their multivendor UC and CC environment.

Based on interviews with executives at the five companies, Forrester used a composite representative company model to define the benefits they saw from a private cloud solution. Their results showed a total ROI of 42 percent in capital expenses for data center and telephony costs, improved contact center productivity, and simplified transformation to new communications technology.

How? According to Forrester’s research, there are 12 benefits that the composite organization saw from a private cloud deployment. Of the 12 benefits, five were quantifiable and generated an estimated 42 percent ROI (based on an average savings over five years) of $6,493,000, or about $12,987 per employee (500 employees).

The five key measurable benefits:

  • Handle customer interactions more efficiently by helping to ensure that the right resources are readily available to customers. Through an interwoven, interoperable unified contact center and workforce optimization solution, enterprise goals, contact center targets, and customer objectives can be aligned and linked together.
  • Intelligent routing and resource selection features allow systems to be configured to determine if customers should be served by the least-busy agent, the first-available agent, or the agent with skills that best match the customer’s needs.
  • Internet-based text chat sessions with contact center agents improved agent productivity, as do self-service online customer service.
  • Reduced capital expenditures for telephone devices per user/per month fees moved unified communications and contact center expenditures from initial CAPEX to longer-term operations expenses.
  • Infrastructure cost avoidance savings included server and data networking hardware, software, and maintenance; network monitoring tools; primary rate interface (PRI) and analog trunk lines; interactive voice response (IVR) software and maintenance, contact center databases and maintenance; and associated power and cooling. Also included were the IT manpower savings associated with no longer managing the legacy multivendor, multi-location infrastructure, and allowing IT staff to focus on more strategic business initiatives.

In addition, executives at the interviewed companies identified the following seven benefits to using private cloud that were not as easily measurable:

  • Using the cloud and a set of enterprise communications services that are based on and aligned with the industry-adopted tools of the internationally recognized Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) elements, customers can start with a baseline level of service management and then add extra elements as needed.
  • Increased utilization of legacy technology assets meant avoiding the need to purchase new assets.
  • Rising customer satisfaction scores were made possible by a number of factors, and were a strong driver for implementation.
  • Customer service representatives can work in the office or from home using the same agent desktop interface. With a home agent program, organizations can recruit the best agents from a larger external talent pool.
  • Acceleration of business transformation and increased agility.
  • Increased focus of resources on core business outcomes such as improving customers’ experience and employee productivity, rather than day-to-day operational tasks.
  • Establishment of a global standardized support structure.

What do you think? How has the cloud improved your businesses? What are your documented savings?

Follow me on Twitter at @pat_patterson_v

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Avaya Solutions Connect People Across the World

During a recent vacation cruise, I found myself playing cards with a group of six strangers. As we got to know one another I was asked, “What do you do for work?” The question quickly became a discussion, and I’d like to share that conversation with you.

Who is Avaya?

A couple of people at the table knew of Avaya. One asked, “Doesn’t Avaya make phone systems?” Another asked, “I hear about cloud all the time. Are you guys doing cloud?”

While both of these questions are relevant and somewhat factual, both miss what makes Avaya special. In my opinion Avaya is a connection company. The whole reason Avaya exists is to connect people with people. In my experience, it really is that simple.

Avaya makes it easy to get work done by connecting teammates with other teammates, regardless of where they are, what device they have, and what network they’re connected to. At the same time, Avaya connects consumers who need help with the exact resource who can fix whatever is challenging them, helping to create lasting impressions and ongoing relationships.

More than 90% of Fortune 100 companies are running Avaya Solutions. I believe that each and every day almost every human being on the planet is impacted by Avaya solutions in one way or the other. Heck, thanks to the cruise line using Avaya solutions, everyone with me at the table had their cruise questions answered prior to boarding the ship.

This led to the most interesting part of the discussion. If people connect with people using Avaya, how do we make the world better? The answer lies in two areas, and we’re deeply invested in fixing both.

  1. Making it Easier to Work. While Avaya tools make it easier to connect with teammates wherever they are, there is still room for improvement in making it easier for you to actually get work done. People have so many tools and apps it’s confusing to know what to use when, and there are still a ton of manual steps to getting people together to work on projects. Using Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, and Avaya Breeze we automate a lot of the manual stuff that makes work so frustrating, which means when something happens at work, you waste less time reacting and more time responding with a tool that’s built to be easy to use, puts everything you need at your fingertips, is always available, and is super secure.
  2. Making Customer Service Experiences Better. Avaya recognizes how frustrating customer service has become, and we’re helping companies fix it. Over the years, customer service was designed around the company’s needs not the consumer’s. Things like auto attendants, long hold times, and constantly repeating yourself are too common. Using Artificial Intelligence and our experienced consultants, we help businesses change both the technology and the business processes to create more magical experiences for consumers.
     

    For example, booking a cruise online can be super frustrating, especially if you get a discount code that doesn’t seem to work. The last thing you want to do is call customer service. But what if when you call, the auto attendant knows who you are and greets you by name. Instead of telling you what it can do, it knows you’re calling because of the trouble you had on the website. When you’re connected with an agent, they not only know why you’ve called but they already know how to fix the problem. Instead of wasting time trying to talk you through which fields to change, they ask to share your screen so they can show you how to use the discount. Avaya eliminates the frustration and replaces it with a near magical experience … all by improving the connection between you and the cruise ship company.

Simply put, Avaya solutions make the world a better place because we make connecting with the people you need easier, faster, more secure, and even slightly more magical than ever before.

Avaya IP Office Can Speed Your Journey to Communications in the Cloud

Let’s talk cloud—or, should I say, let’s talk in the cloud. Research shows that by 2020, 78% of small and midsize businesses will be fully adapted to the cloud—almost double that of 2014. One of the main drivers in this growth is the way we share and communicate. By bringing disparate communication channels together onto a common platform, companies stand to gain tremendous productivity and efficiency increases. But, for all the benefits, there’s no denying that moving to communications in the cloud can be challenging. Working with a trusted partner is critical to avoiding some of the common issues that can arise.

The Many Challenges That Can Cloud Your Journey

Like many SMBs, you may be facing limited IT budgets and capital, so cost-efficiency is paramount, which means no room for error in mapping out a cloud strategy.

Moving to communications in the cloud can also mean an increase in complex application environments, and the need for more scalability in line with application usage. You need to find a balance between purchasing and maintaining IT tools, vs. coping with legacy systems and aging infrastructure. Making this all the more complex is limited IT resources and the increasing cost of attracting/training/retaining IT staff.

That said, the benefits of making the move are considerable and well-documented, and approached correctly it’s a sound commercial decision, giving you:

  • A predictable expense model with subscription-based payment options—you only pay for what you use
  • Access to the latest technology with real-time monitoring, with management and analytics included in many solutions
  • More time for your IT staff to focus on more strategic initiatives
  • The ability to scale up or down as needed, on demand in response to your business peaks and troughs

So Where Do You Start?

The Avaya IP Office™ platform gets you to the hybrid cloud quickly, easily and cost-effectively. A powerful unified collaboration solution, IP Office has a simple migration capability that takes you from hardware, virtualisation, and cloud deployments, to a hybrid cloud. It unites all of your communication and collaboration solutions onto a universal platform.

Why Migrate to Avaya IP Office in the Cloud?

  • Common code base—no retraining of staff
  • Worldwide partner expertise
  • Investment protection
  • Reuse IP, digital, cordless and analog devices
  • Repurpose IP Office 500v2 as a gateway and failover
  • Cloud critical features: built-in, always on security and centralised management
  • Unique hybrid resilience—whether cloud-to-premise, or premise-to-cloud

Envision Your Migration With Avaya

Get in touch to discuss your own requirements, and together we can map out how IP Office can help transform your IT operations and put your communications in the cloud.

If Getting Work Done Takes Too Much Work—Take the Team to Zang Spaces

Fast Company recently published a survey finding that the average tech CEO works 300 days a year, 14 hours a day. One third of that time is spent managing email, while another third is spent in meetings. Two thirds of a tech CEO’s time is spent communicating and collaborating, and this issue touches everyone in an enterprise, even Bob in Accounts Payable. It turns out getting work done just takes too much work, primarily due to the number of redundant tools users are given to accomplish tasks. Our application Zang Spaces™ addresses the enterprise communication problem in a big way.

What We Have Today

Desk phones and cell phones are great for communicating, but you can hold only one voice conversation at a time, which is nowhere near enough in our multi-tasking world. Digital transformation may seems like a new trend but enterprises digitally transformed communications years ago with tools like email, instant messaging, and web conferencing. While it’s ubiquitous, email is a horrible tool for collaboration. IM lets you participate in multiple conversations at the same time, but everyone has to be logged in at the same time to communicate, which is just dumb. Online meeting tools bridge the challenges of distance, but once a session is complete it’s usually gone forever. Newer collaboration tools such as on-line storage lockers are great for working on documents, but they’re “unitaskers” which only add to the tool overload.

How to Make Work, Well, Less Work

Cloud-based Zang Spaces doesn’t require anything to be installed in your data centers, or on your PC. You can use Zang Spaces to communicate, collaborate, and manage tasks in a single, easy application.

From One to Many

Zang Spaces can be used to communicate and collaborate with individual users via audio, video, and messaging. Since anyone can use Zang Spaces, you can invite resources from outside of your organization to collaborate. Zang Spaces can also be used to communicate and collaborate with groups of people. Simply create a virtual meeting room, called a “Space,” and invite the members of the team to participate by entering their email address.

Smart Messaging

When you first enter a Space, you see the group’s chat stream. Unlike IM, which requires users to be online to receive messages, Zang Spaces uses Smart Messaging. Unlike plain ol’ IM, you can catch up to the conversation that has happened while you were away, and then add your comments for others to read. The chat stream is synchronized across all of your devices, so you can add quick responses from your phone, and then elaborate when you’re back in front of a PC.

Order from Chaos

One of biggest problems with group chat is multiple conversations happening in one thread. Users lose track of what they’re trying to discuss, and it becomes a mess. Zang Spaces delivers order from this chaos with a tool called Posts. On a single form, your team can have topi- based, threaded discussions, which makes it super easy to stay focused. With Posts, you can even upload files that are relevant to the discussion.

Stay on Task

When you have a team working together, many times there are multiple tasks that must be managed to deliver results. Instead of adding another unitasker to your users’ crowded toolboxes, they can manage multiple tasks in Zang Spaces. Users can create tasks in a Space and assign them to one or more team members. Team members can discuss the task, update progress, and upload files relevant to the task on a single form that makes it a breeze to reference later.

Real Time, Not Real Complicated

When you need to get the team together in real time, thanks to the magic of WebRTC, with a single click in your browser, you’ve created an audio/video conference with team members. No plugins to download or software to install, simply share your desktop with team members, and even offer a dial-in phone number for audio-only access.

Start Now

Zang Spaces is absolutely free to use! Simply visit zang.io, sign up for an account, and you’re set. You can send and receive as many messages as you’d like, you can hold audio and video calls with individual users, create as many Spaces as you need, and even host five-party audio conferences … at no cost. If you need additional capacities, Zang Spaces Plus and Zang Spaces Pro offer huge capacities for a great price.

Want to learn more? Get your free account and then send me a message in Zang Spaces at forcum@avaya.com.