Cloud UC Rains Down Big Returns for Businesses

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Business models in today’s fast-paced markets rely on quick turnarounds, prompt workarounds and speedy customer responses. Many companies, in both the early stages and with long histories, are turning to cloud-based UC services to give them the speed—and the cost savings—they need to respond ultra-fast.

Cargo Airport Services USA has built a highly successful business around setting up critical services at airports with super-short deadlines. When an airline awards a contract to CAS, the phone system with call routing and other programmable features needs to be up and ready based on the contract’s dates. Rather than hiring staff and putting them on speed dial to manage new contracts, CAS turned to ShoreTel Sky to host its phone solutions.

“I have a small infrastructure staff that often doesn’t have time for a rapid install or to program phones at each site,” explains Vida Shaver, IT manager at Cargo Airport Services. “Because we have ShoreTel Sky, all I have to do is call ShoreTel to order the new phones and use the online portal to send them programming requests that they complete off-site. That’s a huge time and cost saver for our IT staff, and ensures that phones are customized and working quickly.”

Getting the phone system up and running reliably is a non-negotiable requirement for customer-centric businesses. Protégé Partners, a hedge fund that manages more than $2.2 billion assets, wanted reliable phone service so it could fulfill direct trades with customers over the phone. “For us, telecom is a critical, integral part of our business. Not having phone service even for an hour can translate into significant issues,” says Alex Zagajewski, IT manager at Protégé Partners.

The firm’s previous phone platform was unreliable and the cause of lost business, and Zagajewski wanted to replace it with a cloud-based, managed service that passes on big cost savings. “The ShoreTel Sky cloud architecture and phones require no heavy upfront investment, are feature-rich, and can be installed quickly. Even better, I don’t have to maintain them anymore.”

When Cargo Airport Services compared costs for hosted vs. on-premise platforms, ShoreTel’s cloud option was a clear winner as the monthly fees for a hosted ShoreTel Sky solution are less than the capital costs incurred when purchasing an in-house phone system that lacks scalability and robustness. “You save money on what you would have spent on upgrades and changes to the old phones, let alone the time invested in staff to support an antiquated system,” says Shaver.

Another feature that has been a huge benefit for companies is the built-in disaster recovery that is standard in cloud-based, managed services. When other VoIP platforms experience failures, the business is unable to respond to incoming customer calls, but cloud-based services promise constant availability, which is especially important for young companies carving out a niche.

Bonobos, an online clothing retailer, launched its business in 2008 with basic, analog cordless phones. The company’s line of men’s pants were so popular with customers who wanted better fitting clothes that sales rose fast, and at a pace that the phone system could not match.

Bonobos tossed out its old phone system and moved to ShoreTel Sky-hosted VoIP and gained a closet full of new features and a disaster recovery solution. In one instance, when electricity was cut to its building, the customer service team picked up and moved to a local coffee shop, accessed the Wi-Fi network, plugged in their headsets and worked as if nothing had happened.

Customers never experienced any service interruption, and that attention to service keeps all these businesses ahead of their competition. “We needed a phone that worked, a phone that would enable us to do our jobs better. When so much of your business relies on personal communication, phones are everything. You don’t realize how important it is until you don’t have good ones. The difference in our level of service to our customers is remarkable,” says Protégé’s Zagajewski.

Answer these eight questions to see if onsite, cloud or hybrid UC is right for you.

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