American singer-songwriter Conor Oberst once wrote, "If you wanna see the future, go stare into a cloud." While he meant this quite literally, his message also applies to where the world of software is moving. According to Gartner's "cloud shift" research, spending on application software is projected to increase from 57.7% in 2022 to 65.9% in 2025. Most businesses have already started transitioning from on-premise solutions to cloud-based communication, which includes phone systems, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), unified communication, and audio and video conferencing.
Evolution of phone systems
Phone systems have seen historical advances over the past 200 years. What started off as a manual switchboard in the 1900s was replaced by automatic switchboards that reduced the need for human intervention. With the internet boom in 1990, the need for switchboards was completely eliminated and businesses began using internet for voice connectivity. This technology soon became known as VoIP. Although there was concern over data loss and security, most businesses resorted to using an IP PBX, as it was a cost-effective solution to connect people inside and outside an organization.
The cloud-based approach to business phone systems
So what really changed when businesses started adopting cloud-based business phone systems?
There was a reduction in operational and maintenance costs.
Deploying a cloud-based phone system was relatively simple compared to setting up an on-premise phone system.
Cloud-based phone systems were easily scalable, as licenses could be added on the go.
Phone systems hosted in the cloud could be accessed from anywhere, giving employees more flexibility with their work.
A survey by BullsEye Telecom found that companies save 50% to 75% on communication costs using VoIP instead of landline services. Organizations also save time and improve productivity by switching to a cloud-based PBX.
Phone systems often come in handy when organizations are looking to set up a contact center to assist customers. With the flexibility that a cloud PBX offers, employees can operate an online contact center to resolve issues faster and takecalls through an app from anywhere, be it a laptop or a mobile device. All calls directed to the toll-free customer servicenumber go to the app and are routed to the right agents for resolution.
A cloud PBX also allows employees to stay in communication with one another. For instance, an employee in the conference room can use the PBX app to call a colleague sitting on the ground floor. This is all enabled through the cloud.
Tying it all together: Unified communication
The evolution of PBX systems didn't stop with cloud-based phone systems. Integrating phone systems with other communication tools became a necessity, which gave rise to unified communication tools. Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) providers offer cloud PBX bundled with other collaboration features like instant messaging, voice and video conferencing, call recording, and a unified user presence. User presence became the greatest selling point of UCaaS, as it helps users keep track of colleague availability. For example, users on a call can automatically set their status as busy so that others know they aren't available.
UCaaS bridges the gap between internal communication and external communication. Zoho Cliq is slowly moving towards this approach so communicating within and outside of your organization becomes even easier.
With the upcoming release, Zoho Cliq will provide the support to integrate a cloud-based phone system and unify communication both internally and externally.
Zoho Cliq–Zoho Voice integration
An in-house phone system powered by Zoho Voice is now available in Zoho Cliq. With this integration, you can set up an online contact center and have all customer support calls directed right to Zoho Cliq. You can also use Zoho Cliq to view the complete Zoho Voice dashboard, active calls, call recordings, call logs, and more. With the help of the Zoho Voice Dialer, you can communicate not just with customers, but with employees in your organization as well.
Integrating other phone systems with Zoho Cliq
If your organization is already using an external cloud phone system like Twilio or RingCentral, you can also set up an integration with Zoho Cliq. This will enable you to host your online contact center inside Zoho Cliq and unify your communication.
To read more about this feature, check out our Zoho Cliq 4.0 blog.
This announcement is part of the #FutureOfCollaboration series that talks about the latest updates to the Zoho Workplace. Read the complete announcement here.