Collaboration in the cloud

Dec 22 2017   3:39PM GMT

Five reasons to collaborate in the cloud

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh

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Collaboration

A strategic trend for multinational organisations is moving workloads to the cloud, often in conjunction with digital transformation. But many companies need convincing how best to achieve cloud transformation when they have complex environments with legacy investments.

Moving to the cloud and digital transformation complement each other.

“But while 100% of organisations are pursuing digital and looking at cloud at the same time, not all have moved to the cloud,” says Andrew Small, vice president, BT One, contact, CPE & mobile portfolio, at BT.

Hindering factors include the impulse to sweat investment in legacy technologies and the internal IT estate, and not knowing where to begin on the cloud journey with so many diverse services offered and no idea how to knit them together.

However, Small believes the mindset changes when organisations see what benefits they stand to gain and how BT can help on their journey to digital transformation. Here are five reasons to move to the cloud.

  1. Cutting collaboration costs

The number one driver for many large organisations with multiple employees in diverse locations is to put collaboration technologies in the cloud to reduce costs.

“The CFO will see reduced costs, but to simultaneously increase productivity it is important to focus on ensuring the quality of user experience, so collaboration tools are used effectively. It is not a trivial addition – it is a fundamental change in the ways people can collaborate, whether by video, shared whiteboards or mobile phones. It is a cultural change, not just a technology change,” says Small.

Large organisations are sometimes disappointed not to see the reduction in costs they expected from cloud service providers because of a lack of transparency.

BT One Cloud offers transparent pricing and organisations can pin costs down to per-user, per-month. By offering pay-as-you-go, organisations can predict costs,” says Small.

  1. Accessing the latest collaboration technologies to improve productivity

BT simplifies setting up unified communications across different sites and geographies and its partnership with Microsoft via One Cloud means it can offer organisations the benefits of collaboration tools such as Skype for Business with Microsoft Office 365 – all with minimal disruption.

“One Cloud Microsoft offers a great user experience and changes the way people work, offering a real choice in how to communicate, whether by voice, video, instant messaging or presence. As user experience improves, employees are more productive,” says Small.

  1. Using legacy and cloud technologies to exploit the best of the old and the new

A perceived drawback of moving workloads to the cloud is the reluctance to decommission legacy technologies and the associated wasted investment. However, BT One’s mission is to ensure that both strands work together during the transformation to cloud.

“A multinational organisation may have different technologies from different vendors and it doesn’t want to replace them all. BT One can make everything work together. We are used to integrating legacy with new under one solution,” says Small.

He says BT One provides the glue to build bridges between technologies.

Cloud migration does not need to happen all at once, and it’s recommended to migrate to the cloud over time with a hybrid approach — the combination of an on-premises, private cloud and third-party, public cloud services.

“For example, we can provide One Collaborate video bridging between a legacy video solution and Microsoft Surface Hub and a partner using video conferencing technology on a different network. Organisations only need to spend money where they need it and can continue to use their in-house technologies with new cloud collaboration tools,” says Small.

  1. A continuous path of improving user experience

If employees don’t take up cloud collaboration tools because they have not had the necessary training, or their experience is degraded due to poor network connectivity, then investments are potentially wasted. The consultancy approach through BT One ensures that employees are identified in categories by “personas” and the appropriate tools are made available based on their working requirements. This is particularly useful to large, complex organisations that wish to give the right tools to the right people. Employees are given training and ongoing proactive support to encourages adoption and a productive digital workstyle.

“We split people into groups of users to ensure that each gets the right services, which reduces costs and promotes simplicity. The One Cloud service offers a holistic approach to unified communications with assessments, planning and training. Post-deployment, every call is monitored for quality and pain points are immediately identified and rectified. This means more calls are made via the network and conferencing costs fall as positive user experiences make an impact,” says Small.

  1. Increased agility, simplicity, security and resilience

Large multinationals in diverse geographies need to change their requirements as they grow and open new offices. BT’s extensive network of datacentres are “paired up” to ensure failover and resilience, giving organisations confidence that new employees can be brought on board quickly and simply and collaboration will not be interrupted.

Employees have a consistent service everywhere. Data is secured as we manage the network from end-to-end and the resilience of the service with two datacentres in each region means that the system is very robust,” says Small.

“BT’s global voice network is encrypted, and security is built into our cloud platform, ensuring that security is never at the expense of collaboration,”

The cloud creates real value for businesses by connecting the workforce with a secure, reliable and collaborative infrastructure. Work becomes more creative, captures input from the best experience in the company, and does this at any time, any place, on any device.

Whether you’re an SME or a large organisation, it is important to realise the opportunity that cloud-based technology can offer your business.

Find out more about BT’s unified communications solutions.

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