Cloud-based unified communications is on the short list of many enterprises digital transformation strategies. Cost savings, improved collaboration and scalability are just a few of the advantages to a cloud solution, so why are some enterprises dragging their feet?
Many cite a reluctance to turn over control and data access to a cloud provider. Instead, they opt for on-site unified communications, but they may be missing out on some of the best benefits that unified communications has to offer. If you’re contemplating a communications upgrade, here are the broad options:
On-site Unified Communications: The advantage of this plan is that you have complete control over your communications systems. You will likely wait longer for upgrades and updates, but if you are in an industry where compliance regulations are particularly critical, this option presents the least risk to company and customer data assets. This option is also often the least cost-effective because you’ll own and maintain all aspects of the solution — from hardware to troubleshooting tasks.
Hybrid Solution: In this scenario, you share the responsibility for your unified communications with a cloud provider. The hybrid approach can be attractive because you continue to utilize your existing infrastructure. It’s an option that works well if you are interested in the scalability of the cloud but have hesitations about a full move.
Unified Communications as a Service: This option is a complete shift to cloud communications with a managed service provider handling all aspects of management, hardware maintenance, and security. Any size organization can benefit from cloud-based unified communications, but it is particularly advantageous for growing global organizations. In addition, there’s little in the way of upfront costs, making it easy to transition in terms of financial impact.
It’s important that you first conduct a needs assessment so you can determine the right path for your unified communications technology. You may lean toward one of the above options, but initial perceptions may be challenged once you consider a variety of factors:
Cost: Building and maintaining your own infrastructure is a consideration when choosing a communications technology. You should also examine how the monthly operating expense of a cloud solution impacts your finances differently than an initial capital investment.
Control: For companies with small or overtaxed IT teams, the idea of turning all management of communications over to a third party may be attractive. For others, the loss of control may seem impossible, so it’s important to know how these factors impact your teams.
It’s also a good idea to consider whether you have the in-house talent to manage and troubleshoot your unified communications solution. For instance, how will productivity and collaboration suffer if a videoconferencing feature isn’t working or if phone calls are interrupted by performance issues?
Bandwidth and Network: Cloud unified communications relies heavily on high bandwidth access and a network that is not bogged down with latency, jitter, or congestion. It’s a good idea to check with your Internet service provider as well as test the speed and performance of your network to be sure it meets the specifications of a cloud solution.
If you’re considering a move to unified communications, but navigating the cloud seems a bit tricky, contact us at AMD Communications. We can help you evaluate various on-premise, hybrid, and managed solutions to determine the best fit for your enterprise.