Eventually, every company needs to replace or upgrade its phone system. The reasons will range from the technology being dated and expensive to a lack of features required to advance the business plan.

When it’s time to make a change, many IT departments mull the pros and cons of keeping their existing premises-based PBX or replacing it with a cloud phone system. It’s a complex decision, with many factors coming into play.

Among the questions the IT team should ask are: Which type of phone system best supports our long-term business plan? Which features will help employees be more productive? Do we have the resources to support and maintain the new system? The answers will illuminate your most pressing needs, thus providing critical guidance in choosing the right path.

But how can you interpret the findings? What are the top reasons to switch to a cloud phone service? Understanding what other organizations think can help. For example, those who’ve made the switch already say agility and cost were their top drivers for choosing the cloud, according to a No Jitter survey.

But let’s not stop there. Here’s a detailed look at the survey’s five most-cited reasons for moving to the cloud.

1.  Agility

No matter what industry you’re in, the environment is probably competitive. Businesses need the ability to react quickly to market changes or they risk losing ground to both competitors and market disrupters. That’s why agility tops the list, with 18% of No Jitter survey respondents naming it the most compelling reason for deploying a cloud phone system. When users can add new features and functions easily, they gain the flexibility to respond to business needs quickly and without fuss. That makes the company more competitive, able to adapt easily as both opportunities and challenges present themselves.

2.  Total Cost of Operations (TCO)

Over time, a cloud phone system creates significant cost advantages for a company. That’s why 16% of the respondents cited it as a top reason to move to the cloud. With lower capital and operational expenses, a cloud phone system is often less expensive than an aging PBX. But be sure to factor in costs for training, maintenance and managed services, which can add to the total cost of operations. With the right vendor, you can experience significant savings over a five-year time horizon.

3.  Resiliency/Disaster Recovery

If your business relies on its phones to drive revenue, you can’t afford even a few minutes of downtime. When customers hear a busy signal, they’ll simply move on – most likely to one of your competitors. Of course disasters, both natural and technical, do happen, but a cloud phone system built on a distributed architecture minimizes the risk of falling offline. With failover and the ability to switch calls to home-based offices, the right system can enable your business to continue taking calls, even if the storm of the century is on your doorstep.

4.  Lack of IT Resources

Nowadays lean IT teams are the rule, not the exception. Yet inadequate technical resources make it increasingly difficult to properly support and maintain on-premises equipment and wiring. That’s because troubleshooting and repairing the system requires expertise that many companies don’t have on staff. It’s not surprising, then, that 9% of No Jitter’s respondents look to cloud phone providers to keep their systems operational.

5.  Scalability

When product sales suddenly surge, your contact center has to be able to handle the volume. With a cloud phone system, adding new licenses can take only hours, not weeks, so you can scale up or down in line with demand. Likewise, if your business expands geographically, new offices can be easily added so employees in every location benefit from the same features and collaboration tools.

When it’s time to re-evaluate your IP phone system, understanding why other businesses choose the cloud can provide real-world context and support for your decision. If your internal research aligns with one or more of the five reasons above, a cloud phone system is likely to be the solution you’re looking for.

Learn more about ShoreTel cloud phone services