SMB Cloud Communications Strategy: Do You Have One?
After more than a year of disruption from the pandemic, one thing is clear: the “where” of work should be flexible. And with employees at home, at the office, or both, organizations of all sizes need to enable clear, secure, reliable communications from wherever. To make this happen, you don’t just need the right platform. You need a strategy. With a cloud communications strategy for your SMB, you can move into the new normal of business with confidence.
Why Should SMBs Create a Cloud Communications Strategy?
Employee priorities have changed. More people value freedom of location and no longer believe they need to live and work near the office. Of 1,515 US employees who participated in PwC’s Workforce Pulse Survey, 22 percent plan to move more than 50 miles from the core office location. Another 12 percent already moved during the pandemic.
Another survey, conducted by California background check provider GoodHire, found that 68 percent of employees prefer working from home, and most want to work remotely for at least three days each week.
The bottom line is, most people who can do their job at home want to decide where they work. Because of this change, the new normal will be characterized by a remote-focused business world.
Organizations who don’t offer remote work are going to struggle to maintain employees who prioritize the flexibility a work-from-wherever employer offers. And, those companies that offer remote work and empower employees with the right communications tools to work effectively are likely to thrive in the post-pandemic business environment.
There are other compelling reasons why you should put a cloud communications strategy in place:
- Cloud communications makes your business more resilient. Those companies that were already using cloud-based communications platforms when the pandemic hit had an easier time transitioning to a work-from-home model. If you can continue operations from anywhere, your organization is less vulnerable to disruption.
- Another reason cloud communications took off during the pandemic is it’s easier to scale with cloud solutions. You can add or remove users from your software’s administration page without having to worry about investing in more servers or expanding your hardware capabilities. This is a huge benefit for growing businesses, but it also enables more streamlined downsizing for those that need to temporarily reduce costs.
- A third benefit is security. Because your cloud provider manages data center and privacy protection, your business only has to focus on handling security at your end: using secure devices, a secure network, and teaching employees how to access your systems securely. You don’t have to worry about security guards, CCTV monitoring, or other measures when you work with a provider that prioritizes security.
But knowing you need cloud communications is step one. To get the most out of your technology, you need to develop a strategy customized for your business needs and goals.
What You Should Include in Your Cloud Communications Strategy
For most SMBs, the objective is to adopt affordable technology that takes care of the complexity. Integration, onboarding, security, and compliance – ideally, you implement a tool that works with your other business applications, enables your employees to use the software right away, and takes a lot of the challenges of compliance and security off your plate.
So, what do you need to know to create a cloud communications strategy for your SMB?
- User roles – Determine who will use your cloud communication tools. For example, if your company has a contact center team that interacts with customers, you might need cloud-based contact center software. If you are looking for a communications tools to streamline all your employee-to-employee and employee-to-client communications, you might only need a unified communications (UC) solution.
- Phone solutions – Decide if your business is going to use a cloud-based phone system for both your in-office and remote employees. Or will you update your existing phone system with SIP Trunking? What types of phones you use depends on your needs and budget. A very small company may decide to use personal devices and simply download the UC application onto employee laptops and mobile phones. Another option is to purchase desk phones that are preconfigured with the communications software – users can plug in the phone and get started right away. And with SIP Trunking, you can modernize your on-premises phone system and save on calling costs by routing phone calls over the internet.
- Features and tools – Figure out what features your employees need to work efficiently. For example, do they need high-quality video conferencing software for client-facing calls? Do you need your software to integrate with the business apps you’re already using? Are advanced webinar tools a must-have so they can host interactive meetings, employee training sessions, or customer webinars? For your contact center agents, are features like smart call routing, multi-channel outreach capabilities, and IVR important?
- Compliance and security – Look at the compliance and security needs your business has based on your industry and how much you handle customer data. When comparing providers, make sure you have all the tools you need to make compliance easy, such as privacy controls, email encryption, and ongoing data backups.
Get Started with a Solution that Solves Your Challenges
With the rise in remote work and the need for businesses of all sizes to boost resilience, there’s no question that cloud communications will play a key role in the new business normal. However, your SMB should be strategic when deciding what cloud communications tools you need and what you want out of your technology.
To create your strategy, identify what your employees need. Then, build your plan from there, choosing the right type of tools, the features, and the compliance and security standards that will help your company grow. To help you craft your strategy, take a look at how other businesses are thriving with the help of cloud communications.