Business Cloud hosting UC voip xaas

Hosted VoIP/UCaaS is Going Upmarket! welcomes VoIP Week contributor Huw Rees, Senior Vice President of Business Development at 8×8

The hosted VoIP/UCaaS (aka cloud communications) market is growing strongly in the US and it seems that the UK market is not far behind. According to Frost and Sullivan, Gartner, and others, US CAGR is somewhere around the 25%+ mark, and certainly the results from the few pure play publicly traded companies in this space seem to be consistent with these figures. So what is really driving this growth? What is really going on under the bonnet (or hood, for those of you in the US)?

What appears to be happening is that cloud communications is being adopted by much larger businesses than it was even two or three years ago. The early adopters for hosted PBX services were the very small businesses, typically less than 20 employees. In terms of IT, these businesses were generally unsophisticated and the owner could make the decision rapidly without asking a lot of detailed questions, especially when the provider would clearly save him/her money and often offered some kind of money-back guarantee. Thus, with nothing to lose, these small businesses signed up in significant numbers. Larger business were not so quick to jump on this bandwagon, however, as they needed clear answers to such questions as availability, reliability, feature set, scalability and — of course — compliance and security. Their questions in these areas were not easy to answer in the early roll out of these services, and unfortunately some of these items (especially compliance and security) are still not being properly addressed by many providers.
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As some of the vendors started to address these mid-market and even enterprise-level concerns, CIOs started to pay more attention. They began to see the clear benefits of a sophisticated, scalable service that they could subscribe to, effectively getting out of the telephone management business and concentrating their IT resources on projects that were critical to their business and part of the differentiation their business had in their markets (i.e., stop managing boxes in closets and start bringing real value to the business). Gradually at first, businesses of a few hundred employees signed up, followed by 500+, and now businesses significantly greater than 1000 employees subscribe to these services.

For the service provider, larger customers provide major benefits. For instance, they have more sophisticated IT teams, and so the ratio of support calls to deployed phones is reduced. Also, the acquisition cost is potentially less on a per-phone-deployed basis. And perhaps most importantly, the churn rate from larger customers is dramatically less, as larger businesses are generally more stable and therefore tend not to cease business with anywhere near the frequency of the very small businesses. This reduction in churn rate clearly benefits the service provider’s top line, as to grow revenue you must, of course, stem any revenue loss from defecting customers.

As we look forward to 2015, the trend of larger businesses moving to cloud-based communications will continue, to the point where the enterprise market will also start to adopt these services. Soon enough, it will not be uncommon for businesses with many thousands of employees — perhaps even tens of thousands of employees — to start subscribing, which will result in a booming business for the service providers that are truly ready to tackle such a scale.

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Business business applications mobile apps xaas

Using FreeAgent for personal expenses & discount referral code

trefor_150Following on from my post on FreeAgent yesterday I got home to find the details of the online banking for Time to get the accounts sorted out.

All of the set up costs for the business have come out of my personal account. This includes a chunky legal bill as well as ad hoc events such as champagne celebrations in the Savoy a few pints of half and half in the British Legion. Now that the bank account is accessible and money is starting to come in it is time to square things up.

At lunchtime today I fired up  FreeAgent.

Business xaas

Using Freeagent as the accounting software for startup

Things are fairly hectic here on the startup front. We are trying to set the business up so that everything is automated. This hasn’t been a total walk in the park due to the time it seems to have taken to do some basic things such as set up a business bank account, get online banking, VAT number registration etc etc etc.

Customer accounts have now been set up on FreeAgent, invoices sent out and the first cash is in the bank – yay. We chose FreeAgent partly because it is being used by people in other offices near ours and party because in theory it has all the APIs we need to automate processes.

Also when you search online it is very difficult to see the wood from the trees when it comes to accounting packages. The big ones get the SEO rankings but products such as Sage come with the baggage of being early runners in the game.

FreeAgent really has been a piece of cake to set up. Importing contacts is easy, generating invoices a dream. We haven’t yet got to the reconciling bank balances bit yet as we are still waiting for internet banking to be set up but it won’t be long now.

Stay tuned…

Use this 10% off discount referral code for FreeAgent 43ls3wr5 – check it out via this link . We can both save cash

Business Cloud xaas

Which cloud services do you use for work?

April is normally associated with rain so I’m having a bit of a cloudy1 month. Other than the services we host ourselves in our own private cloud Timico uses three main external cloud based services: ServiceNow, and OneSource. I guess we also access tools on remote portals for BT Wholesale and Openreach which could at a push be categorised as “cloud” based services. I also personally use Eventbrite when I organise industry bashes such as the Xmas party and my industry dinner debates. also uses the whole suite of Google services and in order of level of use I also have Microsoft/Skydrive and Dropbox accounts. I also have an Apple ID but it doesn’t get used much.

I tend to mix work and play – I only have one laptop which gets used for both.

What I am interested in though is how you, dear reader, use the cloud for work. Are you on Google Apps or Office365? What other cloud services do you use and what is your experience of using them. Do you have problems with outages? How do you get around these problems?

Have you taken the plunge and gone totally cloud based? What size of business are you? My impressions are that it is easy for small businesses to go into the cloud and for very large companies the business case is compelling but not so easy for those in the middle. Is this right? Does the global nature of the cloud give you a problem in your line of business?

Answers either on a postcard stating point of view or by leaving a comment.



1 Of course it’s not meant to be bloomin’ freezing but I’m sorry I have no control over that – if any of you do then for goodness sake get on and sort it 🙂

Apps Cloud End User xaas

Computing As A Service – family bundle #CAAS #Tesco #Acer #Microsoft

I know I said I might well have bought my last laptop for the family but my wife’s 10 year old PC is spinning the last few thousand rotations of its hard drive and software is starting to malfunction.  So she is getting our daughter’s 7 year old perfectly good machine and we are buying the final year 6th form girl a laptop.

The Tesco website has an Acer 5742 for £399. It has an Intel Core i3, a 750gig hard drive and 4 gigs of RAM.  The crunch though is the copy of Microsoft Office 2010 home and business £204.22. She ain’t getting that.

It’s a graphic illustration that the money isn’t in the hardware but in the software. You do also have to wonder