The last five years have seen vast improvements in technology, reliability and security for making phone calls over the internet. These advances and the vast benefits of cloud-based phone systems are driving an increase in subscribers.
What is Webex Calling?
Webex Calling is the new VoIP cloud-based business phone system being rolled out by Cisco through their value-added reseller (VAR) channel partners. Cisco is a market leader in online meeting software and products, and its VAR partners are trusted and used worldwide by mid-market and enterprise customers.
Webex Calling launched in the US at the end of March 2019 and will expand to over 35 countries across the world by the end of the year.
A cloud-based phone system aimed largely at mid-sized businesses, it aims to create a simple, reliable cloud-based phone system by moving a lot of the hardware and infrastructure from your premises to the cloud, and most of the management.
The changing needs of businesses
The way business is conducted has changed vastly over the last 20 years. We want to be able to communicate with colleagues and clients not just in the office, but out and about. We want to be able to send information instantly and hold meetings without spending time and money on travel.
When VoIP was first rolled out there were businesses that held back over concerns about reliability, quality of calls and security. Cisco has combined the best of its BroadCloud platform with Webex to create a system that aims to resolve all of these concerns.
The benefits of Webex Calling
Webex Calling has a simplified IT interface to manage basic functions, giving greater control to users. The rest is managed in the fully-supported cloud.
Here are some of the other benefits of Webex Calling:
Cost savings – The savings that a business can make from a cloud-based phone system are significant. They can be anything from 30 per cent to 80 per cent; the variation being down to how accurately the provider matches the service to the requirements of your business. An optimised service like Webex Calling should see savings at the higher end of the scale, particularly so if your business uses mobile phones regularly.
Upfront costs could be seen as a barrier for some smaller businesses. You will have to upgrade to IP phones and you may have to upgrade your routers, though the lower cost options can be relatively inexpensive. You would need to ensure you have a broadband service with good, reliable speeds, which may mean upgrading to a better package. On the plus, these costs will be offset quickly once the change to the cloud is made. This checklist provides a general guide on what you need to do to prepare for a VoIP phone system.
Flexibility and versatility – A user only has to log onto the cloud-based phone system to have access to all its features and Webex Calling has a rather large variety, including a virtual receptionist, call hold, voicemail, hunt groups, do not disturb and call recording. This makes it easier for you to add or remove users, which is particularly useful if you have temporary staff or employees that work from home, or from other sites.
Flexibility is not only possible at a personnel level; the whole business can move premises seamlessly. So if your business needs to move to a new location or the location is temporarily unavailable due to external factors such as the weather, all you need is an access device, which could be just a mobile phone.
Superior reliability and security – Reliability, security and call quality are all issues that have made some businesses reluctant to move over to a cloud-based phone system. Indeed, no system is perfect. Webex Calling is susceptible to all the issues associated with broadband – you need power and a decent broadband service to get the best from this phone system. With this in place, Webex Calling ensures high-quality calls, even when calling internationally.
When it comes to security, Webex Calling uses encryption from administration to end users, with some basic security tools that can be managed through the IT interface. There are also automatic updates and patching. All in all, you’re looking at a robust, reliable and secure service.
Having the best tools and security features is only useful if these elements are implemented correctly. If you’re concerned about security, there are some basic checks you can make before you consider a new phone system.
Cloud-based phone systems – the future is now
So is Webex Calling the future for your business? The benefits definitely outweigh the concerns. With the better connectivity that a system such as Webex Calling can provide, you can increase productivity, improve service and save money.
However, cloud-based technology is no longer new and if its popularity is anything to go by, the future is now. The research firm Future Market Insights predicts that there will be around 204.8 billion corporate consumer users by 2020.
It would seem the real future for businesses lies with adopting more than one cloud system. IBM reported their definition of the new business innovators as this: “Today, we classify 71 per cent of organisations as innovators because they are using cloud to generate new sources of business revenue.” They are achieving this largely through hybrid cloud adoption. The full IBM report can be found here.
The full Webex service
If Webex Calling is the future for your business phone system, then the full Webex offering from Cisco could take your business to the next level. Webex Meetings and Webex Teams enable a more comprehensive collaboration system. In addition, using the detailed reporting that is available with Webex Calling can give valuable insights into where improvements can be made to your business.
Joe Berger, Practice Director, Collaboration and End User Computing for World Wide Technology had this to say about the Cisco Webex offering:
“The Cisco BroadCloud powered solution now gives us more options for those customers who are looking to move their collaboration workloads to the cloud… When combined with Webex Meetings and Webex Teams, this truly becomes a next-generation collaboration platform.”For more information on Webex Calling, take a look at the Webex website.