Cloud telecom can help agencies do more with less
President Donald Trump's executive order directing agencies to improve government efficiency will likely generate dozens of recommendations, and some will be more easily implemented than others. If the president wants to focus on low-hanging fruit, though, one place he can look for immediate savings is the cloud.
Agencies have been reluctant to move operations, especially telecommunications, to the cloud. However, that could change as the Trump administration mandates reductions in spending without not necessarily altering agencies’ missions.
Simply put, cloud-based unified telecom services reduce costs and meet other mandates for agile IT, security and mobile functionality. Several departments are already looking for ways to upgrade their existing telecom infrastructure. In other words, the timing couldn’t be better for agencies to consider meeting presidential mandates by adopting cloud-based unified communications as a service.
Federal leaders should keep UCaaS in mind when they conduct management reviews. Here’s why:
* Cloud-based solutions substantially reduce capital expenditures, a significant factor when agency budgets face sharp reductions. Overhead and maintenance costs are lower for such solutions, further adding to the potential savings. Whether an agency opts for a private, commercial or hybrid approach, telecom cloud services offer total solutions priced on a per-user basis. A good supplier will even offer you the ability to scale up or down as the headcount changes, meaning that you pay only for what your agency actually uses.
* The latest offerings boast advanced security features. Security is often the No. 1 federal concern when considering UCaaS. Unlike data storage solutions, however, telecom cloud offerings retain almost no government data. Easily deleted voice-mail messages and phone numbers are typically the only information in a telecom cloud.
Still, agencies have a right to expect secure solutions. Companies committed to the federal market should have security authentication under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, an important step in addressing such concerns. Most contractors will even take further steps if the scope of a specific project is sufficient to support additional security levels. The bottom line is that security concerns, although important, are no longer a valid stumbling block when moving telecom services to the cloud.
* UCaaS can cover a wide range of communication needs. Government telecom is no longer just about phone calls. It’s about conferencing, collaboration and related needs. Any agency considering a switch to UCaaS should ensure that the companies they’re considering can offer full functionality. Call control, voice mail and reliable teleconferencing are just three areas to consider in addition to basic dial tone service.
Any cloud telecom service you consider should offer functionality that can support a diverse and often widespread workforce with varying requirements. Some suppliers might be able to offer solutions federal users aren’t even aware of.
UCaaS doesn’t simply offer significant budget savings. It provides federal agencies with the ability to obtain a full range of state-of-the-art functions from reliable business partners. Agencies looking for ways to streamline their organizations and cut costs should take a close look at cloud-based telecom.
Larry Allen is president of Allen Federal Business Partners.