Cloud-based options for midsize companies

Introduction
In their pursuit of competitive advantage, small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are seeking technology solutions that increase agility, improve workforce productivity, and enrich the customer experience. Communications solutions are the cornerstone of enabling these business benefits. Connectivity between colleagues, customers, partners, and suppliers is crucial for collaboration. To better understand how companies are addressing challenges, investments, and cloud migration plans for their communications solutions, IDG Research Services conducted a quick poll among IT and business leaders. This white paper examines the results of the survey and offers best practices to help SMBs navigate their unique communication paths

SMBs look to the cloud
Cloud-based or hybrid (a mix of on-premises and cloud) communications solutions offer tremendous promise for SMBs. They can improve cost management and make it easier to scale up or down with growth, flex for seasonal demand, or outsource some operations. The right platform can also drive higher productivity by simplifying collaboration and enabling employees to work effectively from anywhere.
Also, many SMBs are implementing cloud-based productivity applications, and theyneed cloud-enabled phones to take advantage of click-to-connect features in popular environments such as Google for Work and Salesforce.com.

The challenges of choosing a solution
Business leaders see promise in the cloud, but any migration also introduces challenges and risk:

Cost: 86% of the respondents said cost-effectiveness is a critical or very important factor for evaluating communications solutions. There are three major costs associated with telephony: equipment, maintenance and upgrades, and service charges.

Data security:Cloud-based telephony makes a company's data more accessible to employees and contractors outside the office. However, businesses want reassurance before exposing data to what they perceive as increased risks. That's why a significant majority (88%) has placed data security at the top of the criteria list when evaluating communications solutions.

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