Cloud Communications Transforming Enterprise Collaboration
Cloud communications technologies have already changed how people collaborate in the workplace, establishing a foundation for more flexible, intuitive communication. In many ways, the rise of cloud services with integrated communications functionality represents a convergence of related trends. Voice and video are commonly delivered over IP networks, making it easier to integrate core functionality into apps and services. Messaging and social collaboration are now ubiquitous as enterprise users rely more heavily on mobile devices, leading to increased use of dedicated enterprise-class cloud communications tools.
As these trends come together, single-source cloud providers like Fusion are unifying diverse communications services into centralized solutions, building collaboration into apps and services and empowering workers to communicate with ease. In many ways, the move toward communications convergence is coming as more companies invest in cloud communications services.
Cloud Communications Sector Gaining Steam
On the whole, the global market for cloud communications is expanding at an annualized rate of 23 percent, according to the Synergy Research Group.
The markets surrounding a variety of cloud communications services are rising, with Contact Center-as-a-Service solutions particularly standing out, No Jitter Research found. Approximately 56 percent of the respondents to No Jitter's study said they are using some form of communications software housed in a third-party public or private cloud setup. Businesses are making this transition predominantly to be more flexible within their communications setup, reduce their total cost of ownership and gain access features that wouldn't be easily available otherwise.
The Contact Center-as-a-Service sector is a particularly interesting development. On the whole, enterprise adoption of the technology has gradually increased over the past few years, albeit slowly: It grew by merely one percent from 2016 into 2017. What is significant, however, in the number of users leveraging the cloud service model. The total number of users being supported with Contact Center-as-a-Service solutions increased by 13 percent year over year in 2017, highlighting just how prominent the technology is becoming for companies that rely on the cloud for communications.
In short, the businesses that have started adopting Contact Center-as-a-Service solutions seem to have recognized the potential benefits of the cloud communications solutions, and ramped up the quantity of users with access to the system. This trend highlights the way cloud computing is changing how people collaborate in the enterprise.
How Contact Center-as-a-Service Embodies New Enterprise Communication Reality
Contact Center-as-a-Service solutions offer a variety of integrated tools, enabling agents to interact with customers with greater ease. Common capabilities include:
- Voice, messaging, and similar capabilities for customer-facing and internal communication.
- Call histories and account data so agents understand the context around the call.
- Integration with relevant apps and services so contact center representatives can take direct action when applicable.
- Analytics and business intelligence functionality, providing deep visibility into customer relationships and related issues.
When integrated into a common interface, these functionalities enable contact center representatives to engage customers in more intelligent, intuitive ways. Instead of relying on general knowledge and broad estimates to project a resolution timeline, for example, an agent can pull up analytics pertaining to related incidents and staff availability to set clear expectations.
"Cloud communications services are bringing flexibility and intuitiveness to enterprise collaboration."
With businesses expanding their use of Contact Center-as-a-Service systems, the opportunity for gains increases. Why should the analytics and communications functionality of these solutions be restricted to the contact center? For example, a manager going into a teleconference can use analytics to better engage employees, share images or charts directly over the conferencing app, and view background on others in the meeting to see the full context around questions being asked. These same capabilities apply to sales settings when representatives engage with prospective clients or in marketing, where workers can use historic customer data to make more informed decisions when they meet to discuss campaigns.
Contact Center-as-a-Service solutions highlight how the convergence of disparate communications tools within cloud ecosystems is changing how people work. When users can easily hop onto a conference call from an app they are using, teamwork becomes much more convenient. When workers then have access to background data, files, and a variety of communication methods within a central app, they can use whatever tool is most convenient for the task at hand.
Single-source cloud solutions are easing the data integration and app accessibility challenges that are inherent to typical multi-cloud setups. Communications platforms built in such environments can therefore integrate with apps, incorporate a variety of collaboration tools, and alleviate the network complexity that comes when all of these solutions are sourced from disparate cloud environments. As a result, cloud communications services are bringing a degree of flexibility and intuitiveness to enterprise collaboration that has been impossible in the past.