Cloud numbers for a new era of communications
Author: Divya Wakankar, Head of Cloud Communications Product Management and Innovation at BICS.
For many of those in traditionally office-based roles, the notion of the workplace is changing, employees are no longer slaves to their desks and restricted by desktop landline phones. Digitalisation, including the increasing use of and reliance on smartphone and apps, plus ubiquitous connectivity, low-cost data services and the portability of traditionally cumbersome hardware, have helped pave the way for new, flexible means of working, and agile, mobile workforces.
Of course, introducing new ways of working can be a challenge, but with the right tools, digital transformation can enable businesses to expand, while driving productivity. These benefits are expected to fuel an increase in flexible working practices; 1.87 billion workers globally are predicted to be mobile by 2022.
However, for the benefits of flexible working to be fully realised, every member of a team must be able to reliably and effectively communicate and collaborate, no matter where they are. The secret to success is a strong unified communications strategy, which leverages virtual phone numbers to offer a scalable, cost-effective, device- and application-agnostic solution.
Uniting your workforce
Virtual phone numbers are number ranges in various countries that international businesses can assign for specific business objectives, such as unified communications and collaboration. Virtual phone numbers allow businesses to quickly launch telecommunications services in local offices, without worrying about physical set-up in the country.
In the past, the resources to obtain telecommunications services were significant, and integrating these services with unified communications complex. Regulatory and compliance requirements vary from region to region, making it difficult for those businesses which do not have history, experience and knowledge of the telecoms landscape. This situation is further complicated by the need to build relationships with required parties in every area in which a business wants to operate.
When adopting unified communications solutions, business and IT leaders need access to a single SIP Trunking solution, to manage domestic and international calling services, and connect its local workforce to customers, employees, suppliers and others worldwide.
The fact that the numbers are local is key. If a workforce is distributed across multiple geographies, employees do not want to be calling high-cost phone numbers to contact their colleagues, customers or suppliers in other regions. We’re also seeing an increase in the BYOD (bring your own device) trend – a practice employed by almost 60% of businesses, according to one estimate – meaning more employees are using their personal devices for work-related activities. In these circumstances, most will be even less inclined to dial a phone number located in a different country than their own.
Expanding your footprint
It’s not just a business’s employees that virtual numbers can benefit. Customer service departments can also ensure they deliver great customer engagement; offering local, low-cost or toll-free numbers for call centres and helplines. This approach can help business looking to expand their footprint into new territories, providing a local point of communication and contact for customers and clients in different regions, even if they don’t yet have a physical presence.
Many businesses will be hesitant to embrace digitalisation and mobile working due to perceived challenges around managing a new breed of communications. These can be overcome, thanks to online tools that collate the various virtual numbers they manage for various areas of their business. Online portals act as control centres, allowing businesses to order, manage and troubleshoot virtual numbers through a single, unified dashboard. Even those firms which lack experience and history in telecoms can quickly become pros, and easily oversee a new virtual communications and digitalisation strategy.
Whether a business’s customers and employees are sitting side by side at an office desk, or are located in-the-field a thousand miles apart, communication and collaboration can be efficient, low-cost and simple, thanks to the cloud.
To explore more about the new era for communication or to meet with bics, why not Register Free here for UC EXPO 2019?