Before you move your voice communications to the cloud, MYLES LEACH advises on how to choose a service provider

08 May 2019

Myles Leach, managing director, NFON UK

Myles Leach, managing director, NFON UK

There is a revolution going on in the voice communications market. It mirrors what happened with data a decade ago, when cloud computing streamlined hardwareladen businesses.

Voice and data were historically very distinct markets; cloud telephony means businesses can now get what they have always wanted – one supplier for both IT and voice. In the UK cloud telephony already amounts to 13 per cent and expected to grow to around 27 per cent in 2022. The market is moving like never before. There are few organisations that are not concerned about digital transformation – and cloud communications are an essential part of any strategy to enable staff to work flexibly.

Cloud telephony might sound simple: After all, it’s just another software application running on the network. However, there’s lots to consider before you choose.

Location is important: If the service provider has its HQ and data centres in the EU, you will enter into a data agreement pursuant to Article 28 of GDPR. Legally, everything is covered because the data protection responsibility of your provider is regulated by European law.

Look at what certifications they have: Serious providers receive regular checks, audits and certification by independent authorities and auditing institutes -- such as TÜV or EuroCloud – to ensure that their customers are always protected. Cloud solutions are designed to inherently standard, offering features that already cover typical requirements. The right solution will be easy to integrate into your existing infrastructure. The solution is best when it inherently meets user needs – bespoke requests cost time, money and productivity. Cloud services are designed to be as cost effective and scalable for as many users as possible.

Scalability is also key: Growing organisations need the ability to add – or drop – users at any time. Even temporary traffic spikes due to seasonal peaks should be covered. With cloud services, there are usually no long-term contractual obligations. Providers typically say their bills are as transparent as water and electricity. Popular models are “Pay as you go” and “Pay per use”.

Look carefully at the details: Are there a minimum/maximum number of subscribers for the rate? Are there additional implementation costs? Do you need to provide cancellation notice within a defined time period? How does the rate compare with others? Make sure the terms and conditions offer you fair value for the costs and will be acceptable to your finance/procurement team. Lastly, to gain an impression of a provider’s expertise, ask for customer references.

By Myles Leach, managing director, NFON UK