Cloud PBX – if you want to support businesses with the cloud, it’s an essential part of your service mix
The cloud PBX has become a key tool for many business customers and it should be a core offer for any service provider. Old arguments about on-premise vs cloud have, largely, disappeared and most businesses are eagerly embracing cloud services. The trend is irreversible, so the question is, why aren’t telcos pushing cloud communications with the same vigour?
Research suggests that business customers are building a multi-cloud strategy
Recent research has shown how far this trend has advanced. In a survey cited, here, 92% of enterprises are reckoned to have a multi-cloud strategy, while many also think more than half of their process workloads will shift to the cloud in the next 12 months. Of course, COVID-19 has helped to accelerate this trend.
Interestingly, while many highlight concerns such as “security, governance [and] complexity”, this isn’t holding anyone back. This suggests two things. First, that operators need to address these concerns in their messages and help business customers to navigate these uncertainties with appropriate offers. And, second, that they also need to think about the workloads that are being shifted.
How can you help them with key business processes, such as cloud PBX?
Which brings up back to the cloud PBX. This has evolved from different approaches – IP Centrex, mobile PBX and so on, none of which is truly new. These have essentially converged around a core proposition that can be delivered across different access media to support business communications. Some cloud PBX solutions depend on IP connectivity while others can leverage 3G or even 2G connectivity for wireless access (as do our solutions). Regardless, the term cloud PBX is now commonplace and includes such different models.
But, it should be more than this. It should be part of a suite of solutions that are wrapped up as a cloud offer by a service provider – extending to security processes to provide the requisite assurance to business customers that they have the protection and resilience they clearly seek.
MNOs and CSPs must have a core cloud offer to win market share
And this is where we have to think about what business customers want from their cloud strategies. While they may adopt a multi-provider approach, service providers want to try to ensure that businesses obtain as much as possible of these from them, not a public cloud provider.
And, the only way to do that is to strengthen the cloud offer with a range of complementary services, of which cloud PBX is a core element. You need to ensure that your enterprise customers adopt core services from your portfolio while enabling them to embrace any other solution they choose.
A key lesson from the survey is that it’s not a zero-sum game. Enterprises will happily choose services from different providers but to enhance the value that accrues to you as an MNO or converged service provider, you need to have both a compelling core offer and the ability to support enterprises even when they look elsewhere for other services and providers. These need to cater for core needs (cloud PBX), to support differentiation (customisation and offers for specific industry sectors and verticals) as well as to enable cross connectivity and integration across different cloud offers.
Win the share of the cloud you can, while helping business customers make the right choices
So, for example, you might provide the core comms platform in the shape of the cloud PBX, but you might also enable secure, federated integration with a platform in a different cloud - such as a video solution or something else that supports enterprise workflows.
The key is not to try to be the best at everything, or to try to win everything, but to ensure that you offer the best of your chosen services alongside support for ease access to others. It’s clear that business customers have the flexibility to adopt services from just about anywhere – you need to help them choose yours, while supporting their other investments. And, you can’t easily establish credibility unless you have a strong portfolio of core offers, such as cloud PBX.