Cloud-based communications key to biz success

Communications increasingly fragmented within enterprise environment, for which cloud-enabled communications models can help businesses get agile and successful, industry players say.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor on

COMMUNICASIA, SINGAPORE--Enterprises today are bearing the brunt of communications fragmentation, thanks to IT consumerization and device proliferation, say industry players who say cloud-based communications will be integral in providing the simplicity, mobility and agility necessary in any successful business.

Five main forces are increasingly driving enterprises today, said Vivek Jhamb, senior vice president of Vodafone Global Enterprise India, during his presentation at the Telco Rising Cloud conference in CommunicAsia here Tuesday. These were IT consumerization and bring-your-own-device (BYOD), internal collaboration and flexible working hours, business agility, globalization, and secure and simplified integrated communications. This meant mobility will be at the core of successful businesses and therefore, communications technology is a business enabler and more than merely a piece of technology, he said.

Yet, Jhamb noted companies today are experiencing communications fragmentation amid end-user expectations of "mobility everywhere" across all their devices anywhere, anytime, but existing complex IT systems and inflexible work processes are unable to support these demands. The disparity of communications has other consequences as well, such as waste of resources, delays in meeting work deadlines, and loss of control over escalating costs. Data security also becomes a priority and an issue, he added.

Jhamb believes cloud-based convergence will help address these various issues, giving the benefits of simplicity, visibility, transparency and predictability. For instance, by managing communications in the cloud instead of on-premise, end-users can perform the same tasks in the same way, regardless of which device they use at any point in time--be it a smartphone while on-the-move, or on a desktop PC in the office. This will boost staff productivity.

Cloud-based unified communications (UC) is where the future of business communications will be at, said the executive. Hosting the communications services in the cloud realizes the idea of "one service, one portal, one contract, one audit", which ultimately makes communications "simple again", he explained. And as businesses undergo a "cloud-powered business transformation", the opportunity for service providers is in providing enterprises a "communications model that just works".

Cloud preps telcos to be ICT providers
During her presentation, Susan Bryant, South Pacific director of CIO department at Huawei Technologies Malaysia, also highlighted how cloud can transform business and facilitate success, in particular, for telecommunications companies.

The disruption of cloud on enterprises in changing how IT is procured, consumed and delivered meant "phone companies will be ICT providers", Bryant said. It also provides telcos the chance to innovate themselves internally as an organization, and externally as a services provider, she added. Telcos, like any other company, can make use of cloud computing to lower costs, boost internal savings, and increase time to market for their products and services, for example.

As an ICT service provider to various customer segments from consumer to small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) and enterprises, telcos can exploit cloud technology to enable new business models via service bundles or packages, she said.

Bryant noted: "We get hung up on all these terms, infrastructure-as-a-service or software-as-a-service [but] at the end of the day, it's what customers want to buy that [gives them] value."

The executive observed that even with the advent of cloud, businesses and consumers today still required a number of traditional telco services such as e-mail and Web site creation. Hence, telcos will have to think about how to package their services, based in the cloud, that are customized to meet the needs of the target customers, she said.

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