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June 12, 2012

Unified Communications and the Changing Role of IT — A SPN Exclusive

A unified communications business solution, together with the power of VoIP, streamlines all data securely from almost any platform, whether it be phone, email, instant messaging or video, to enable companies to focus on their business and provide added value to their customers.

Although it has been widely reported that the primary benefit of VoIP is cost savings, research has shown that the real driving force behind cloud adoption is integrated business communications over a broad range of computing devices.

According to a recent study published by Wired, Mimecast found that 70 percent of businesses are either using or investigating cloud computing solutions and that cloud providers have increased personnel from nil in 2007 to over 550,000 in 2010.

These numbers are impressive, but Forrester Research has rather different and perhaps more accurate metrics on the world of IT. Seepij Gupta’s “Cloud’s Impact On IT Operations: Don’t Overlook Your Legacy” found that IT departments are moving swiftly towards the public cloud but are hesitant to migrate where sensitive data is involved.

He points out that for the past couple of years companies have started to adopt cloud computing for their front-end applications while leaving their back end, with personal data such as payroll, finance and HR, on legacy systems.

The article goes onto suggest that a massive cultural change has occurred in IT management, one in which “the cloud will actually elevate the importance of IT within a company, as both a service and a strategic focus” but sees a counter-force of IT-savvy personnel who like to “bring their own devices and who see no need for IT to provide for them.”

With the complexities of modern-day IT and streamlining, the cloud provides a comprehensive structure for unified communications to operate. Increasingly, IT departments have been forced by circumstance to adopt cloud-based alternatives, but policy is sometimes hampered by extensions of on-premises models delivering internal, private, cloud functionality.

The cloud is modernizing, restructuring, and re-implementing existing IT architectures to include much of the scalability and multi-tenancy of public systems, but in certain cases it still retains the siloed, under-utilized IT systems of the past in a hybrid system of internal control.

As Gerry O’Kane, of Financial Journalist observed: “As the recession continues to bite, many companies have found they now have little fat left to trim. As a result, many are realizing that only change to their processes can deliver any further savings and that they must take strategic decisions that enhance cost optimization and deliver the customer a better service.”

It is also important to recognize the complexity of change, IT cohesion and how it is managed. Furthermore, IT should be concerned with applying strategic value-added services rather than sticking with balkanized, non-decision-making installation and maintenance engineers and staff members.

The business world and the changing role of IT managers and their staff in this cloud-based world is to manage and leverage new technologies to provide competitive advantage and gain business value.

Article By John Sylvester. VoIP4Cloud is a cloud hosted VoIP service provider using Fuse Professional, a cutting edge, feature-rich, unified communications IP PBX system for progressive businesses.