The Top Five Ways Hosted PBX with Unified Communications Can Help Your Enterprise

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When voice moves into the cloud, enterprise communications rapidly becomes a strategic function that drives revenue. A reliable, business-grade solution that integrates Voice over IP with hosted Unified Communications can help you lower total cost ofownership,enableself-management,improveproductivity,streamline business continuity and free up IT resources to focus on more important requirements.

Read how Hosted PBX with Unified Communications can help your enterprise integrate complex voice and IT environments, centralize voice applications, and take advantage of the productivity and cost savings of hosted communications.

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The Top Five Ways Hosted PBX with Unified Communications Can Help Your Enterprise

  1. 1. xo.com The Top Five Ways Hosted PBX with Unified Communications Can Help Your Enterprise Authored by: Steve Shepard, President, Shepard Communications Group, LLC
  2. 2. HOSTEDUNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS The Top Five Ways Hosted PBX with Unified Communications Can Help Your Enterprise Authored by: Steve Shepard, President Shepard Communications Group, LLC Commissioned by XO Communications Introduction 1 1 - Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) 3 2 - Self-Management 4 3 - Productivity 5 4 - Business Continuity 6 5 - Focus on Core Competencies 7 In Summary 8 Hosted PBX 9 About XO Communications 10 About Steve Shepard 10
  3. 3. HOSTEDUNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS www.xo.com 1 The Top Five Ways Hosted PBX with Unified Communications Can Help Your Enterprise XO Communications Make no mistake about it: Hosted Voice over IP (VoIP) with Unified Communications technologies are here, they’re real, and they’re the answer to your most vexing communications problems. You want ways to enable employees at multi-site offices, teleworkers, and mobile workers to achieve peak productivity and communicate in the ways they prefer on any of their devices—while you simplify and cut costs of business communications across the company. Let’s begin our discussion with a quick overview of generic hosted technology. The resources required to deliver processing power, enterprise storage, complex applications, functional enterprise application platforms, or corporate communications are complicated, expensive environments. Most corporations have one or more data centers dedicated to the delivery of these and other capabilities. Applications are being moved into the cloud, for example, because by hosting them centrally, the client can provide access to all employees, regardless of location, and can guarantee that the applications are not only the most current version, but also completely free of viruses, malware and other intrusive elements. The truth is that corporations have these data centers because they have to – until recently there has been no cost-effective alternative. Today, however, that is no longer the case. The astute enterprise must pay attention to a question being asked by hosted providers: If you’re not in the business of running data centers, why are you running data centers? Today’s IT environment has adapted to this reality, one result of which is the emergence of companies dedicated to delivering storage, processing power, applications, platforms, and communications from a centrally-managed, universally accessible place – the cloud. Introduction
  4. 4. HOSTEDUNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS www.xo.com 2 The Top Five Ways Hosted PBX with Unified Communications Can Help Your Enterprise XO Communications The companies that offer these services are numerous and capable. Amazon® Web Services offer on-demand cloud computing services. VMWare® provides computing power- on-demand. SalesForce.com® offers a suite of sales support applications, all delivered to roving or fixed sales personnel, regardless of their physical locations. Google Apps® provides an entire platform that offers communication, collaboration, and cooperation to all employees within the enterprise. And XO Communications offers a hosted Voice over IP with Unified Communications solution that allows multiple locations to communicate as if they were physically adjacent. In a hosted environment, all of the functionality resides “in the cloud” – within Web-accessible data centers that are centrally managed. The resources behave as if they were on the user’s computer, when in fact they could be across town, across the continent or on the other side of the world. While hosted computing, applications, platforms and storage have received a lot of attention in the last few years, one of the most exciting new entrants – and the one that will fundamentally change the way businesses communicate – is Hosted PBX. A reliable, business-grade solution that integrates Hosted Voice over IP (VoIP) with Hosted Unified Communications tools will lower your total cost of ownership, enable self-management, improve productivity, streamline business continuity and free up your IT resources to focus on more important requirements.
  5. 5. HOSTEDUNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS www.xo.com 3 The Top Five Ways Hosted PBX with Unified Communications Can Help Your Enterprise XO Communications Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) 1 Seven Best Practices for Cloud Computing. Cumulus Technologies; http://www.cumulus.com.au/pervasive-news/ pervasivenews/19-seven-best-practices-for-cloud-computing. 1 Today, the enterprise relies on a variety of communications modalities: voice, texting, e-mail, and video chat, even social media applications like LinkedIn Facebook, Twitter and Yammer. In fact, according to research from technology strategy firm Cumulus Technology, one-quarter of business process improvement initiatives today include integration of information from enterprise social computing solutions1. Connectivity options, therefore, must evolve beyond standard enterprise applications, legacy systems, and databases, to forward-looking Web services. This is where hosted UC services shine. Consider this: the cost elements of a voice solution are not trivial. They include the monthly fees associated with multichannel PRIs required for site-to-site connectivity; the potentially significant – and variable - cost of monthly local and long-distance usage; the people, software and systems required to administer, manage, operate, monitor, and maintain what can be an extraordinarily complex communications infrastructure; and perhaps most important, the capital expense associated with having to own and operate a collection of depreciable assets. With a hosted solution, however, this cost structure flips on its head. The capital expense (CAPEX) associated with network and terminal equipment follows the communications application into the cloud, leaving the customer with operating expenses (OPEX) only – and far less oversight and management activity, which in turn leads to lower costs. This is the benefit of the converged network that a hosted solution makes possible. Each of the communications modalities listed earlier is delivered from a different source, and each must be separately managed and administered. For precisely this reason the concept of Unified Communications emerged a few years ago, thanks to the arrival of IP as a central unifying force in the world of enterprise communications. Thanks to IP, all of these disparate methods of communication can be unified under a common system, thus reducing the complexity of operations and the total cost of ownership (TCO) involved in administering the daunting task of effective, multi-site enterprise communications. There are no up-front equipment costs (other than a possible LAN upgrade to handle voice); there are no costs associated with network management or infrastructure maintenance; there are no access charges, since all voice and data communications are carried across a single converged IP network; and the risk of technological obsolescence, always a behind-the-scenes fear of IT budgeters, completely disappears, since maintenance of technological currency now becomes the responsibility of the Hosted PBX provider rather than the enterprise. The network literally becomes future-proof, something that makes IT managers smile for days.
  6. 6. HOSTEDUNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS www.xo.com 4 The Top Five Ways Hosted PBX with Unified Communications Can Help Your Enterprise XO Communications HOSTEDUNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS Remember our earlier admonishment: “If you’re not in the business of running data centers, why are you running data centers?” Nowhere is this a more appropriate question than in the area of Self-Management. In today’s hyper-competitive communications marketplace, companies benefit enormously when they place as much control of the relationship as possible between the service provider and the customer into the customer’s hands. It is clear that service providers in today’s competitive environment are being pushed by their customers to place a great deal more emphasis on simplicity, transparency, the ability to customize the relationship between the customer and the network, and real- time choice of delivered services. Self-Management as a central element in Unfied Communications speaks directly to this. Needless to say, there is a certain amount of up-front work required to prepare your network for the arrival of IP, but the very fact that you are thinking about a hosted UC communication solution means that you have probably already done much of this prep work, so any additional required support will be minimal. With a hosted solution, any required activities such as adding or modifying profiles of users or modifying features – the infamous “moves, adds, changes and deletes” – are accomplished via a simple Web interface, and are therefore as scalable as the enterprise itself. And because the enterprise is in control of all functions related to managing the relationship between itself and the network cloud, there is no need to be dependent on a service provider to handle routine tasks nor are there any fees associated with the changes. 2 Self-Management
  7. 7. HOSTEDUNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS www.xo.com 5 The Top Five Ways Hosted PBX with Unified Communications Can Help Your Enterprise XO Communications What would be the point of moving to a unified communications solution if it failed to deliver a significant leap forward in terms of organizational productivity? With a hosted unified communications solution, the “tyranny of twisted pair” disappears, because enterprise communications functionality can now be delivered to any device, at any location, with a single phone number, dial plan, and guaranteed voicemail forwarding to an e-mail account regardless of geography. In other words, the enterprise can enjoy complete IP-PBX functionality without having to buy an IP-PBX. Calls made in the environment, regardless of the originating device, appear to the called party as if they were made from the main office, thus preserving brand identity and customer intimacy. And because of the power of truly unified communications, calls and other frequently used modes of communication can be transparently moved between desk and mobile phones to ensure seamless communications and uninterrupted customer service. The result? A leap in organizational and personal productivity, as the functional playing field among fixed phones, mobile phones and video devices is leveled – permanently. Instead of having to focus on the infrastructure, users can focus on what it does for them. Productivity “ And because of the power of truly unified communications, calls and other frequently used modes of communication can be transparently moved between desk and mobile phones to ensure seamless communications and uninterrupted customer service. ” 3
  8. 8. HOSTEDUNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS www.xo.com 6 The Top Five Ways Hosted PBX with Unified Communications Can Help Your Enterprise XO Communications Business continuity, formerly known as “disaster recovery” or “disaster avoidance,” earned its stripes in the early days of hosted infrastructures when data storage made its way into the cloud. The ability to back up critical data on multiple servers in different geographic areas as a way to avoid disruption by geopolitical events or natural disaster went a long way toward assuaging IT managers’ concerns about business continuity following such an event. When companies like XO took that same concept and applied it to enterprise communications, a whole new level of reliability emerged. Suddenly, weather and natural disaster – both of which seem to have become more common of late – pale into relative insignificance in terms of their ability to adversely affect enterprise communications. Even in situations where weather or other disruptions prevent employees from going to their primary work location, they can still be fully productive because the cloud houses all of the functionality they need to do their jobs, and that functionality can be delivered to them, regardless of where they are physically located. Calls can be routed to mobile devices or to fixed facilities that are unaffected by whatever problem is occurring. Furthermore, the infrastructure is completely secure. There is no physical hardware required at the enterprise location, which means that even in the event of a complete loss of the facility, full-featured communications can continue in an uninterrupted fashion as long as employees can find a working phone. Business Continuity 4
  9. 9. HOSTEDUNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS www.xo.com 7 The Top Five Ways Hosted PBX with Unified Communications Can Help Your Enterprise XO Communications HOSTEDUNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS 5 Running a corporate communications infrastructure is an expensive, complex, and human-intensive process – not to mention a heavy consumer of CAPEX. By shifting the expense, capital and operational burden of communications to the Hosted PBX provider, those same financial and human resources can be redirected to core business activities. In some companies, IT can represent as much as 3-5% of total revenue. Imagine the impact of redirecting a large portion of that to other activities that positively affect customer service, intimacy or stickiness? That would be a well-received decision by senior leadership, and its strategic value would be equally well- received. Moving non-core business functions such as VoIP and UC to a reliable outsourcing entity means that resources that would otherwise be spent on these non-core functions can be redeployed into activities that provide a clear competitive advantage, without sacrificing service quality in any way. Focus on Core Competencies 2 Gartner, Inc. IT Metrics: IT Spending and Staffing Report, 2011. Published 25 January 2011
  10. 10. HOSTEDUNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS www.xo.com 8 The Top Five Ways Hosted PBX with Unified Communications Can Help Your Enterprise XO Communications HOSTEDUNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS In Summary Corporate communications is considered by most IT directors to be an important but largely tactical activity. In fact, basic IP telephony is now considered by many companies as a must-have cloud application, especially as other types of unified communications—instant messaging, text, presence, videochat, and more— take hold, driven by a generation of young, tech-savvy workers. When voice moves into the cloud, enterprise communications rapidly becomes a strategic function because of its ability to directly affect a significant number of revenue and service- impacting functions in the enterprise. The five ways Hosted PBX with Unified Communications can help you are strategically important: the ability to lower the total cost of ownership of the communications function, the ability to move control and management away from the service provider and put it in the hands of the customer, the enhanced productivity that results from the irrelevance of physical location, the ability to not only survive a major disruptive event but to in fact be fully functional in spite of it, and perhaps the most important of all, the ability to focus valuable human and capital resources that would otherwise be consumed by non-core functions on those functions that influence revenue and customer service. Yet all of them result from one simple change. creating a trusted relationship with a best-in-class Hosted PBX with Unified Communications provider. Work with that provider to create an IP-based unified communications infrastructure that supports multi-site offices, teleworkers, and mobile workers, allowing them to achieve their highest possible levels of productivity.
  11. 11. HOSTEDUNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS www.xo.com 9 The Top Five Ways Hosted PBX with Unified Communications Can Help Your Enterprise XO Communications Even if your head is already in the cloud, you can work with a provider with proven VoIP and hosted communications capabilities: with the right products, the expertise and the business sense to help you succeed. XO Communications can help you migrate to the cloud simply, flexibly and cost effectively. XO Hosted PBX helps businesses with locations across the U.S. integrate complex voice and IT environments, centralize voice applications, and take advantage of the productivity and economic gains of hosted communications. The company’s IP-based Hosted PBX service allows multi- location businesses to scale their communication requirements as required, while at the same time reducing the CAPEX and OPEX spend typically associated with the management of enterprise-wide communications. In fact, for those companies that can classify the one-time setup and installation fees as capital expenditures, the conversion to Hosted PBX could be done with no CAPEX at all. At the same time the service allows enterprise customers to accelerate the deployment of VoIP and the rollout of a comprehensive unified communications strategy. And because the XO solution is an end-to-end IP environment, client companies enjoy a wide array of tangible and measurable benefits that result in a significant return on their communications investment. These benefits include: • The ability to transfer the operations and management of the enterprise communications function to a capable and trusted partner, thus freeing up resources for redeployment. • The knowledge that the monthly per-employee cost is predictable on an enterprise-wide basis. Calling features and telephones are included in the overall price. • Awareness of the fact that because of the hosted architecture, site-to-site calling will incur no additional cost across the entire enterprise. • The ever-present ability to upgrade to a full suite of IP-PBX features and to VoIP telephones without the need to purchase new PBX equipment, and the attendant ability to avoid technology obsolescence and benefit from “fuure-proofing.” • A broad range of calling features, local and long-distance calling, enterprise-wide, multi-site high-definition voice and video, secure online feature management, and SIP-enabled, high-definition phones. • Eliminate the frustration mobile device management with a UC app that gives workers multiple ways of communicating with each other, yet securely separates work and personal information on their personal smartphones. XO has been in the communications business since 1996, developing an enterprise-centric network that satisfies the growing and evolving needs of enterprise customers. Hosted PBX
  12. 12. HOSTEDUNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS www.xo.com 10 The Top Five Ways Hosted PBX with Unified Communications Can Help Your Enterprise XO Communications About XO Communications About Steve Shepard Dr. Steven Shepard, Ph.D. is president of the Shepard Communications Group. A professional writer, educator and industry analyst with more than 25 years of experience in the technology industry, Dr. Shepard specializes in international telecommunications issues, the social implications of technological incursion and the analysis of financial issues related to technology- dependent businesses. He is the author of 45 books on a wide variety of topics and regularly speaks to audiences throughout the world, and has clients in more than 50 countries. Mr. Shepard can be reached at: Steve@ShepardComm.com. XO Communications is a leading nationwide provider of advanced communications services and solutions for businesses, enterprises, government, carriers and service providers. XO customers include more than half of the Fortune 500, in addition to leading cable companies, carriers, content providers and mobile network operators. Utilizing its unique combination of high-capacity nationwide and metro networks and fixed wireless capabilities, XO offers customers a broad range of managed voice, data and IP services with proven performance, scalability and value in more than 85 metropolitan markets across the United States. For more information, call your XO sales representative, visit www.xo.com or call: 800.474.1703 For XO updates, follow us on: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Slideshare | YouTube | Flickr Top-5-Ways-HPBX-With-UC-Can-Help-Your-Business | O140303 14:45:51 2013

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