Analyst Report: The second wave of IT disruption: back office in the cloud


Consumerization drove the first wave of cloud-based IT disruption, as employees replaced traditional enterprise productivity tools with user-friendly, rapidly provisioned services originally developed with consumer requirements in mind. IT professionals inside the enterprise are driving a second wave of disruption and displacement, which is aimed at the private branch exchange (PBX), the call center, and other core back-office functions.

Software-based telephony solutions are emerging that offer greater integration with other office communications channels, such as email. Typically, these new offerings are significantly cheaper than the hardware-based systems they replace, and appear better suited to fluid, modern workplaces, and the workforces moving through them.

In this research report, we explore some of the advantages offered by a software-based approach and offer IT decision makers and managers insight derived from early adopters.

  • Hardware-based telephony solutions, with their dependence upon the PBX and physical telephone handsets on desks, are typically expensive to deploy, maintain, and extend.
  • As workforces become increasingly distributed and transient, hardware-based solutions may struggle to keep pace with shifting requirements.
  • Software-based telephony solutions are now a match for their hardware-based competitors in terms of voice quality, while typically offering greater flexibility at a lower price point.
  • Software-based solutions enable greater degrees of integration with other enterprise systems, delivering unified communications capabilities across the workforce and enabling organizations to communicate far more effectively from the office, the home, and out on the road.

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Back-office applications: the glue that binds an organization
  3. Traditional approaches
  4. The changing nature of work
  5. Back-office communication applications: the next generation
    1. Don’t forget the desk phone
    2. Beyond voice
    3. The promise of presence
    4. Infrastructure management for the software generation
  6. Key takeaways
  7. About Paul Miller
  8. About Gigaom Research

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