Prime is Coming out of the (Phone) Closet- Cloud Computing, Cloud Phones, Cloud Business Management

We went to a seminar this past week. We followed up with some pretty intensive vendor training from our partners- and there will be more on their offerings in the coming weeks. We learned a lot- and would love to share it with you.

Here are some reasons to give serious consideration to cloud-based business services.

BYOD

The “bring your own device” (BYOD) movement is rapidly altering the business landscape. Employees want to use the power and convenience of their smartphones to access data, sales reports, and other tools to enhance efficiency. Likewise, enterprises appreciate what improved productivity generated by the BYOD movement can do for the bottom line.

Immunity From Disaster

Another major benefit of the cloud is disaster management. Cloud-based communications systems include automatic redundancy. Voice, data, and all digital information are typically routed to multiple data centers. The days of a business losing business hour-by-hour when its phone system goes down is a thing of the past. Fires, super storms, equipment failures, and even cyber-attacks are no match for the built-in redundancy of IP-based telecommunications.

Those that had embraced VoIP phones and cloud-based computing on the East Coast prior to Superstorm Sandy were often able to continue operations when others with traditional systems were down for days.

Business Management “To Go”

For business managers and executives, cloud-based operations allow them to, in fact, be “two places at once.” One can head out to an impromptu but vital sales call without worrying about what will be missed while you’re gone. The advantages of a fully integrated system go well beyond the mere ability to stay in touch via smartphones. Full, seamless integration of all company operations is possible in the cloud, and it can be done securely.

OfficeSuite is one such platform that can integrate your office phones, mobile devices, and data networks into a single system. Over 100,000 business professionals nationwide already enjoy the ease and efficiency of cloud-based communications and business management. Companies like Broadview Networks has already helped many clients to realize productivity gains through OfficeSuite’s business phone systems.

No longer want to be tethered to your office phone? Move your operations to the cloud and you will feel liberated as you can conduct essential business from anywhere at any time – and on any device.

Scalability

Phones that work over the Internet can be set up without the need for telephone installers at your premises. Better yet, as soon as you add staff or new locations, the system is readily scalable. Grow as you need to without having to spend precious capital for new equipment. As you grow, simply add new licenses for your new employees and set them up on the system in minutes.

The number of businesses around the world that will be using Internet-based phone systems is expected to double in 2013, to over 100 million. There’s a reason for this communications revolution, so see how your productivity can soar with cloud phones and cloud-based business management.

Nearly half of organizations using managed services have cut their annual IT expenses by 25 percent

Nearly half  (46 percent) of organizations using managed services have cut their annual IT expenses by 25 percent or more, according to a new study published Tuesday by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the IT industry.

The CompTIA study, “Trends in Managed Services,” also reveals that among current users of managed services, 13 percent have slashed annual IT expenditures by 50 percent or more.

“This is compelling evidence that managed services, even when implemented on a small scale, can deliver significant cost savings, freeing up cash for other business needs,” said Carolyn April, director, industry analysis, CompTIA. “More importantly, these savings are accomplished without impacting the availability and reliability of the technology solutions the company relies on to conduct business.”

Indeed, the CompTIA study reveals that 89 percent of current managed services users are very satisfied or mostly satisfied with their experience. Performance and uptime, agreeable contract terms, a secure environment, and the flexibility to easily and quickly add new services all contribute to customers’ satisfaction, the study found.

Another critical factor is good communication between the customer and their managed services provider . Among companies that are highly satisfied with managed services, three-quarters say their MSP provides regular activity reports on all of the steps they take with the customer’s IT environment, including documenting any problems averted to keep the customer up and running.

“This shows return on investment and fuels accountability, which builds loyalty and raises satisfaction among customers,” April noted. “From the MSP’s perspective, these are opportunities to make recommendations on new services to add to keep pace with business growth. Customers are engaged even though they’re not managing their own IT.”

While costs savings are the top factor in deciding to turn to managed services, more than half of respondents in the CompTIA survey said a major reason they are contracting with an MSP is to free up their internal IT staffs to work on projects that fall into the business’ core competencies – in other words, revenue-generating activities.

Looking ahead, 62 percent of end users surveyed said they plan to increase their IT spend on managed services over the next two years, with the balance opting to remain at current levels. Among the IT needs that companies intend to move to managed services in the next 12 months are:

·         security, such as firewalls and antivirus, cited by 38 percent of customers

·         website hosting, 36 percent

·         network administration and maintenance, 34 percent

·         help desk and IT support, 31 percent

The managed services model also has been successful as a revenue generator for the IT channel. Fifteen percent  of channel partners offering managed services reaped more than 75 percent of their revenue from these contractual services last year. Nearly half said that managed services accounted for between 50 percent and 75 percent of sales during the last 12 months.

“Growth expectations are not overly aggressive, perhaps reflecting the tepid economy,” April said. “Still, a quarter of respondents project growth of more than 10 percent and a full two-thirds expect modest growth. None of the sample predicted any level of decline in MSP business in the coming year.”

CompTIA’s “Trends in Managed Services” study is based on separate online surveys of 400 IT and business professionals in the United States involved in IT decision making and 364 IT channel firms in the U.S. Both surveys were conducted in June 2011.