The cloud has captured the imagination of businesses. Organisations are venturing into cloud services in record numbers, while others are making careful considerations before they leap. Now you can add unified communications (UC) to the long list of applications and services moving into the cloud.
According to Gartner, over 95% of UC is delivered on-premise. Market research predicts by 2016, half of all organisations will source their UC on a utility subscription model.
Why Choose Hosted UC
Hosted UC is a good fit for many organisations, especially small or midsize businesses and companies that are geographically distributed. The benefits of hosted UC include:
- Shift to opex from capex. Organisations can shift their IT investments from a capital expense to an operational expense. Many educational, healthcare, government and other organisations can cover their communications costs through federal government subsidies, such as E-Rate. These organisations find the opex model of a hosted UC system particularly appealing.
- Rapid startup. With a cloud-based UC system, providers handle installation. You do not need to buy and install UC systems, software, and storage.
- Reduced IT administrative overhead. With UC provided as a service, customers can focus their resources on the core of their business, not on running their phone systems. This allows them to free up people and capital for innovation and serving customers.
- Predictable monthly costs. Hosted UC is typically priced per user per month, allowing organisations to budget. Plus, hosted UC scales to your organisation’s changing needs or size. You cut out surprise server purchases, software or storage to meet demand.
- Consolidated telecom billing. Cloud-based UC helps organise telecom vendor management. Multiple communications services are put into one bill.
- Reduced risk of technology obsolescence. You mitigate risks of technology change with UC services as system become outdated sooner. Organisations do not need to manage technology transitions with a hosted UC system.
Why Choose On-Premise UC
The majority of companies today use enterprise-owned phone systems, and while hosted UC is growing rapidly, on-premise deployment of UC won’t fade away any time soon. The benefits of on-premises UC include:
- Control and familiarity. Most major corporations have a history of buying and managing their own phone systems. They want the control, their own infrastructure and a well-trained staff.
- Preference for capex. Many organisations prefer to make capital investments for IT infrastructure, and depreciate it over time.
- Business continuity or regulatory requirements. All businesses depend on the flow of incoming calls to make sales and service customers.
- Greater customisation. Communication-enabled businesses can optimise workflow. Integrating UC processes can increase efficiencies, but often requires custom integration between an insurance application or a retail application, and a UC system. That often means the enterprise needs to use the advanced features and integration points in a UC system.
- Fixed upgrade schedule. With an on-premise solution, the customer has complete control over where and when software upgrades take place. As communications are more tightly integrated into applications, major changes in the UC platform may have an impact on business processes or require employees to be retrained.
On-premise or in the cloud both offer key advantages. Companies can choose the deployment model which suits their business.
Bennie Langenhoven — Tellumat Communication Solutions Managing Executive