The talk of Cloud telephony is often branded about like it’s the answer to all your problems. There are, however, a number of reasons that it’s both difficult to achieve and perhaps not as straight forward as the marketers would have you believe.
First and foremost is that somewhere there needs to be a connection to Openreach's core network. One day we may all be speaking over the Internet but that's some time away at the moment. Businesses are uncertain about quality of calls over the Internet and they should be. First impressions for potential customers are very important and jitter on the line is unacceptable for a landline call. I wouldn't accept it and I work in the industry, so why would potential customers. This means there needs to be some physical appliance in the network and its very 'un-cloud' to have physical dependencies!
Then there's confusion over the different types of Cloud telephony, hosted cloud, private cloud, public cloud, re-sellers cloud, manufacturers cloud etc. These all have advantages and limitations but confuse a lot of customers and suppliers aren’t helping. They call their own 'Cloud' different marketing phrases, elevating the issue of confusion.
The next issue is commercial. Suppliers assume that clients want to pay for services on a revenue based model. This is simply not the case for many businesses. Often companies have capital to spend and want to keep their revenue costs low. This is a fundamental misconception that the industry has made and can frustrate many customers.
The last issue is that often suppliers aren’t ready to sell cloud telephony either. They may brand services 'The Cloud' but their business model is not geared to the revenue model required and they therefore take out loans to pay for the capital expenditure. Coupled with this, often the architecture they are buying isn't built for Cloud either. Suppliers simply treat their 'Cloud' offering as a commercial arrangement rather than getting the real benefits of a true Cloud service.
So, in summary, if you’re thinking of moving telephony to the Cloud, make sure:
You know why you’re moving and get your business case water tight
You know what type of Cloud you want and why
And, that both you and your supplier are geared to the commercial model that is right for your business not theirs