By Darach Beirne, Flowroute, now part of Intrado
With the abrupt shift to working from home in recent months, many companies—including MSPs—have had to lean more heavily on digital technologies and the cloud to support their operations. These transitions have come with a multitude of benefits that have served as a life raft amid uncertainty and urgency created by the global pandemic.
You’ve probably already heard about the range of benefits of moving to the cloud and your IT team may have already helped your company make the jump. But making this transition comes with a brand-new landscape to navigate. So now that you’ve made the transition, where do you go from here?
As a new cloud adopter, MSPs face a new set of challenges to ensure the transition continues to run smoothly and that you’re maximizing the power of your investment for a variety of businesses.
Below are a few best practices that can help ensure you’re making the most out of the cloud tools available to you. These tools can be helpful for MSPs who are seeking deeper integrations, efficiencies, and cost-effectiveness. Specifically, this direction will be beneficial for MSPs that are looking to move more of their customer service contact methods to the cloud or that are seeking to adopt tools to power remote work for their operations.
Integrating Across Departments
Many cloud-based tools make it possible to unify your communications across multiple departments eliminating the extra costs associated with using separate tools or paying for licenses that aren’t needed.
With cloud-based tools, companies enjoy the benefit of being able to use them for employees regardless of where they’re based. Phone lines, for example, can become cloud-based so that remote workers don’t need to use their personal phones to dial in to conference calls.
As part of the transition, staff must be trained on the new tools to ensure everyone is up to speed and prepared to adapt to the changes and have clarity on the tool’s capabilities.
Migrating to the cloud lays the groundwork to allow companies to continue scaling and elevating their current offerings. As we face a new era of economic uncertainty, the advantage of cloud-based tools lies in their ability to allow you to scale quickly and adopt tools that will help you meet changing needs more rapidly.
Because collaboration tools are cloud-based, many of them are inherently conducive to scale since they operate with minimal equipment or hardware. In the example of cloud-based communication services, they aren’t restricted by the limitations of more traditional telecom technologies since they’re mainly powered by an internet connection.
In particular, there are a few cloud-based services that can help you evolve your operations and communication efforts to ultimately gain more control over your own IT and communication applications. These tools have a wide range of use cases and may, therefore, be the most useful to many MSPs.
Building Your Cloud Toolbox
Choosing the cloud-based telecom tools that are right for your customers can be a daunting endeavor—especially with so many options to choose from. However, some solutions are essential to any cloud-based communications toolbox. Listed below are some agile solutions that can be critical in helping MSPs and their customers evolve operations and communication efforts.
- SIP trunking is a method of sending voice and other unified communications directly over the internet. Essentially, SIP trunks are virtual phone lines that make it possible for users to make and receive phone calls over the internet to anyone in the world with a phone number. A SIP trunk can hold an unlimited number of channels, so you only need one trunk no matter how many calls you expect to handle at once. SIP allows you to make an IP based unified communication system so that your voice, instant messaging, data, and other cloud-based apps can be brought together. Thus, you can access and manage all of your customers’ communication deployments using a single platform—increasing your customer’s IT department’s ease of use and convenience.
- Purpose-built software solutions are industry-specific and pre-integrated into a workflow. In this set-up, communication becomes an embedded capability within a critical and valuable software solution. For example, the healthcare industry would use this business process application as a way for dental or medical receptionists to better schedule patients using SMS notifications. They might also leverage it in sales to handle communications within their CRM or in the claims processing unit to automate claim status.
- Telecom APIs allow businesses to integrate telecom capabilities within their existing processes, which may include calling, messaging, or video chat functionalities, as well as features such as number porting or securing call detail records. MSPs that offer telecom APIs can help their customers easily scale and expand their current offerings by integrating telecom capabilities. Telecom APIs can be extremely valuable for MSPs supporting customers with their customer service and support departments. Telecom APIs also power the creation of contextual communication experiences, which makes it easier for you to deliver personalized interactions with your customer service efforts.
These are just a sampling of some of the cloud-based tools that can be useful in creating easier, more simplified experiences for employees or customers. Choosing the right tools is an important step in your cloud transition, but the work doesn’t end there.
Once your transition is complete, it will be important for your IT team to evaluate and monitor how customers are responding, how well services are functioning, and how widely they’re used. This data can be gathered at several points in time to allow things to settle and give users time to get used to the new changes. This feedback will provide essential information so you can determine the success of the transition, and help you gauge whether you need to plan for any additions or updates to your current toolbox. Being proactive about managing communication offerings after the migration is completed and services are up and running is a characteristic that defines market leaders from the competition.
As technology continues to advance and evolve to meet the needs of our increasingly digital world, IT decision makers should keep close tabs on how new technologies could further improve the experience for employees and customers. While customer needs continue to change over time, there may be a need to seek new or different cloud offerings such as international numbers or fully cloud-hosted telecommunications.
About The Author
Darach Beirne is vice president of customer success at Flowroute, now part of Intrado. With more than 25 years of experience building and leading B2B customer success, Darach leads Flowroute’s dedicated customer support team, driving strategy for customer success and improved customer satisfaction. Before joining Flowroute, Darach lead professional service and sales engineering teams for providers such as Contenix, Huawei/3Leafsytems, InQuira, Siebel/Scopus, and Ingres. He also has assisted high-tech companies to develop strategies to improve customer experience and increase scalability.