Not long ago, the C-suite only thought about the IT department when their computers went on the fritz or they got locked out of email. These days, everybody wants a piece of IT — not just when something needs fixing, but because everything needs a digital transformation.
IT is now the go-to resource for integrating critical business applications, automating tasks and workflows, and helping executives make strategic investments with their own technology budgets. Yet, with this increased value comes increased responsibility and higher expectations.
Many of the biggest challenges for IT professionals today boil down to communication gaps, workflow inefficiencies, and simply finding the time to lead digital transformation. Cloud communications can help with all these pain points, including:
1. Protecting Data
Data security is typically at the top of every IT team's list of priorities. As the first — and sometimes only — line of defense for a company, IT professionals are charged with having to protect their organizations from cyberattacks.
Of course, cyberattacks aren't the only threat, especially in highly regulated industries such as healthcare or finance. Lost or stolen devices, unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, and shadow IT can also compromise corporate and customer privacy.
Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) can help mitigate many of these risks by providing employees with a full suite of connected communication channels — including voice, video, SMS, and chat. They can access the UCaaS platform from any internet-connected device, including their mobile phones, so there's no need for shadow IT. Whether an employee needs to chat with a customer via Facebook Messenger, a traveling employee needs to join a virtual team meeting from a public place, or a sales rep needs to call a client after hours, all communication happens via IT-approved channels where data can be properly logged.
2. Migrating to the Cloud
These days, most executives don't need convincing from IT leaders to embrace cloud. Cloud migration has been a hot topic for years, and forward-thinking business leaders are ready to make the move, if they haven't already.
Migrating to the cloud or managing a multi-cloud strategy can be tough. It requires juggling multiple processes at once and training the organization on new technologies, all while protecting data. Luckily, UCaaS vendors can assuage fears about cloud migration by relieving businesses of the costly and time-consuming process of managing the hardware and software.
Moreover, as organizations continue adopting cloud solutions and services, UCaaS becomes even more valuable, because it can be integrated with other critical cloud business technology — including CRM, collaboration solutions like Slack, G Suite, and Office 365, recruiting tools, productivity apps, and even industry-specific applications.
By consolidating communications into a single platform, companies get all the communication channels they need and just one bill.
3. Improving the Customer Experience
Once charged with simply "keeping the lights on," IT is now responsible for driving business outcomes. As their responsibilities move into all aspects of the business, IT professionals are now helping their organizations drive successful end-to-end customer engagement.
To improve the customer experience, IT must help multiple customer-facing departments — marketing, sales, service, etc. — connect their processes, their data, and their technology. For example, customer service might need a new omnichannel cloud contact center, while marketing may need a way to automate personalized communication with customers; both need the data that salespeople have (hopefully) logged in CRM.
With UCaaS, IT can have a contact center that integrates with their CRM so that service reps know exactly who they're talking to and how to help. Using communications APIs, developers can also add chatbots and voicebots, and help the marketing team automate SMS notifications based on customer history, behavior, or location. This way, whichever department is interacting with customers, everyone has a complete view of those individuals and can offer a seamless customer experience. Better yet, the communication data from all those touch points gets automatically logged into CRM.
4. Reducing Tech Spend
What keeps IT decision-makers up at night? IT spend and cost overruns.
Cloud communications can be expensive (and time-consuming to manage) when businesses are piecing together different solutions and paying multiple vendors. By consolidating communications into a single platform, companies get all the communication channels they need and just one bill. For example, some platform customers typically save 36% compared to traditional phone service, and traditional phone service doesn't include video, conferencing, or instant messaging.
Because UCaaS is cloud-based, scaling the solution up or down is as simple as adding or removing users. IT doesn't have to waste time building out physical workstations for new hires, nor does the company pay for service it's not using. Just as importantly, IT doesn't have to install, maintain, or update hardware, which gives leaders and employees more time to focus on strategic projects — like data protection, cloud migration, and improving the customer experience. After all, when the C-suite is clamoring for IT's attention, the IT team has far better things to do than install phones and troubleshoot servers.