Cisco, ZK Research Show Desire for Cloud UC at Small Businesses
Cisco, a networking development and manufacturing company, recently partnered with information technology research company ZK Research to conduct more than 50 interviews with small business owners and IT admins to determine their need for cloud-based communications products and services.
What Cisco representative Marcus Gallo and ZK Research representative Zeus Kerravala found was that 86 percent of surveyed companies said they are considering the cloud for their communications needs. Only 14 percent of respondents, on the other hand, said they had no plans to explore a unified communications system harbored in the cloud. The respondents who indicated that they would look to the cloud primarily said they want to replace their existing on-premise products.
Kerravala, an industry analyst at ZK Research, commented on the benefits that such a switch could bring to small businesses.
“Unified communications is ideally suited to help small companies accomplish [cost savings] because the technology has a multidimensional value proposition,” he said. “UC is a unique IT solution that can simultaneously lower costs, streamline business processes, enable greater collaboration, and be used to implement new processes.”
As a lead in this research, he commissioned the printing of a white paper, “Cisco Spark Provides All-in-One Cloud Unified Communications Solution for Small Businesses,” to show the study’s results and explain the benefits of using a hosted UC software. In this case, he promotes the use of Cisco’s product, Spark, as the UC software of choice.
He lays out the benefits as including lower costs, faster time to market, advantage over market competitors, improved productivity, and simplification of communications when compared to on-site legacy systems.
Lower costs come first from the reality the small businesses need to expend no capital for servers or other hardware that will sit in their own offices. Through service subscriptions, they help other support off-site servers that host UC software and deliver voice, video, texting, and conferencing through a broadband internet connection. This also plays into the simplicity of the system because small businesses do not need to apply maintenance to the servers or software; their contributions through a subscription keeps brand representatives employed who will complete all those tasks as needed. Of course, this underlines the need for small businesses to make sure they sign with a reputable service provider.
Small businesses can then gain an advantage over their competition almost instantly because it takes only a short time to begin using a service such as Spark. Users can connect their phones and computers to the system and, in most cases, expect a plug-and-play situation where devices will work without a ton of effort. This leads to increased productivity across the entire small business operation because users can connect to the UC service from any location and, again, will not need to worry about maintenance throughout the work day.
Kerravala finally points out that businesses do not need to use a new UC system across the entire small enterprise. They can sign up for a service and employ a test run of the system, perhaps using Spark with just a few employees in a single department. Once those employees take it through the ringer, they can recommend to expand use to the entire operation.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi