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Cloud-based communications — a lifeline for business in 2020

  • Cloud communications tools are proving to be as indispensable as other remote working, cloud-based solutions to ensure business continuity this year

Cloud communications tools have proven indispensable this year. While they were developed for a globalized world of work, where workplaces were becoming less rooted, in 2020, they became nothing less than vital lifelines of business continuity.

Cloud comms giant Twilio saw Q3 2020 revenues trounce market analyst forecasts, surging by 52% to US$448 million and surpassing forecasts by around US$40 million.

The uptake in cloud communications is emblematic of the hike in cloud-based services driven by strong COVID-19- momentum, with Centrify reporting that 48% of enterprises accelerated cloud migration plans to support remote working. With such fertile demand in such a short period of time, organizations are now looking for ready-to-use, cloud-based tools that are easy to deploy and manage remotely for IT managers, that are both secure and cost-effective.

While communication collaboration tools like Slack, Webex, Microsoft Teams, Twilio, and Avaya Spaces are helping in and out of office teams stay connected and working productively together, cloud-based contact center solutions help organizations stay connected with customers.

Switching to a cloud contact center solution that enables remote working and omnichannel conversations will help companies to stay ahead of the curve with customer experience (CX), a point echoed by Avaya Holdings Corp VP for East Asia and the Pacific, Sami Ammous, who told Digital Edge: “The call center solution is usually integrated with a lot of tools used by the company such as customer relationship management or enterprise resource planning.

“Because of that, moving to the cloud is not a trivial matter as companies need to define [what they want] properly and look at the impact.”

Avaya acquired its first Malaysian customer thanks to this, as the company wanted a digitalization driver that could introduce channels that simplified how it served its customers. The shift reminds of how Teleinfo Media in Thailand moved its professional contact center services to the cloud, to enable better remote access yet maintaining an easy through-line to communicate with customers.

Ammous says Avaya is in talks with a few other Malaysian customers along the same lines and sees potential for its call center solutions. “We see a lot more adoption in the unified communications space because it’s relatively simpler, as all companies need is an internet connection and a device,” he says.

Cloud-based collaborative solutions are an ideal choice for businesses operating contact centers both remotely and on-premise, and not just in business. Using Microsoft Teams as an example, the pandemic has sparked major demand for greater collaboration between remote users in education, research, telemedicine, and more – to the extent Teams has grown from 32 million daily users at the start of March to 75 million due to business continuity efforts and remote work strategies.

Australia-based Blackmore Group’s workplace utilizes a new virtual contact center solution from Modality Systems and independent provider Anywhere365 that integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Dynamics and Microsoft Teams, replacing several legacy contact center platforms at Australia’s leading supplements brand.

The integration ensures that omnichannel, remote CX communication is being taken care of, but also enables a smooth single collaboration space where users can work on documents, schedule meetings, make calls, and more from anywhere at any time. “Companies that want to create a great working environment try to make sure they have engaged employees but there tends to be a disconnect and dissatisfaction with employees. So companies need to provide employees with proper tools and technology for them to do their job,” notes Avaya’s Ammous.

“Part of it is a human resource solution, but we need to look at an employee from a holistic point of view, where it’s not just about making sure they are comfortable, well-paid and have a nice office space. Companies also need to make sure employees have the right tools to carry out their jobs, and this is an IT conversation.”