Whenever significant advances occur in medical research, technology, manufacturing, music or even business, they’re often referred to as revolutionary. But are they really? Do those advances actually create such drastic change that the results bare no relation to what came before? Are the changes so startlingly different that a revolution can be said to have occurred? Or, as is more likely, are such advancements merely evolutionary–significant but still a natural progression from one stage to the next?
Take, for example, the concept of cloud computing and, more specifically, cloud-based communications. Cloud technologies and architectures have certainly improved rapidly, permitting Communication Service Providers (CSPs) to offer end-users options with more features, greater reliability and heightened security. Remember, however, that private cloud solutions have long been available as components of on-premises and existing collaboration applications.
CSPs focus on providing communications solutions that free end-users from the technological, administrative and financial burdens of establishing and maintaining in-house systems and architectures. Cloud-based communications are simply more efficient and more refined options of subscription-based, decentralized communication applications (but with more considerably enhanced security features than those available previously).
What began as attempts to deploy private cloud solutions to complement on-premises communication and collaborative systems have now evolved to include a menu of options. These incorporate decentralized solutions– such as public, multi-tenant communication applications— or hybrid options that combine some aspects of on-premises/private apps with public cloud communication applications and resources.
At the end of the day, these systems are all designed to facilitate voice and face-to-face communications. Transforming organizations by making them more efficient, more productive, more collaborative, indeed more organized is the purpose behind the development and use of any communications system.
Cloud-based communications build on methodologies that have long been in place (e.g., telephone, email and fax) and increase their effectiveness through the introduction of real-time communications tools such as voice, instant messaging, data sharing/collaboration and video conferencing.
Driven by the desire of businesses for more freedom and flexibility when connecting with employees, customers (both existing and potential), partners and suppliers, cloud-based communications systems produce tangible benefits in addition to increased visibility and productivity: Reduced costs (operational and travel, for example), shortened sales cycles and project times, and the ability to seamlessly integrate other business processes.
Advancements in cloud-based communications systems and services: Substantial changes that resulted from evolutionary progress, not revolutionary upheaval.