Recent research statistics from a number of analyst firms confirm that Unified Communications (UC) in the cloud has arrived, and is growing. What does this mean for organizations that have capital investments in premises PBX equipment and desktop applications?
A recent article published by Network World “Will Cloud UC Breathe New Life into Unified Communications?” shares some interesting facts about how cloud-based UC technology allows businesses to implement a hybrid mix of cloud and on-premises solutions to take advantage of existing investments in on premises technology, such as PBX equipment.
Unified communications in the cloud, often referred to as UC as a Service (or UCaaS), is generally offered as a multi-tenant solution delivering a set of communication and collaboration tools to customers who want simplicity, cost effectiveness, broad mobility support, and integration with an existing network service infrastructure.
Some think of UCaaS capabilities much like those of legacy type Centrex services, where a client’s PBX solution and feature capabilities are delivered from a carrier’s network, hosted and managed by the carriers’ staff. This leaves the upkeep, maintenance and upgrades to the carrier. But the capabilities and benefits are so much greater.
A UC strategy your business can use
Unified communications accessed from the cloud is particularly beneficial to businesses and end users.
- Cloud-based services incorporate many UC components and can offer cost-effective alternatives as compared to integrating UC components from multiple, disparate suppliers.
- Businesses can be freed from building custom interfaces between UC and telephony solutions, because providers complete the integration work for you.
- UC in the cloud offers a flexible, hybrid architecture that allows organizations to leverage existing investments in premises-based voice, video, email, and infrastructures.
- Cloud services allow organizations to purchase services such as voice, instant messaging, presence, unified messaging and other features on a subscription basis.
- A per-month, per-user fee can help reduce capital equipment costs, procurement and deployment delays while offering a predictable monthly expense.
- Services can be accessed virtually wherever users are located, on most any device they choose to use – from laptops, mobile phones, tablets and other wireless smart devices to desk-based phones and PCs.
- Instead of having to log into disparate tools for presence, email, chat, voice calling, voicemail and conferencing, UC in the cloud brings applications together behind a single user interface.
- A single log on lets users multi-task between communication modes, so they can smoothly escalate from an email to a chat, then to a voice call, audio or video conference.
- In practical terms, this means users can have a single phone number that rings on both fixed and mobile phones simultaneously; they can also transfer on-going calls between devices without interruption – moving a call from an IPT phone to a PC or BlackBerry device, and back again.
Rather than purchasing new on-premises equipment or upgrading solutions that may no longer support the business requirements you have, you could choose to mix and match the capabilities you want to access in the cloud, while supporting legacy systems throughout the transition – and without a complex integration project.
Both small and large companies migrating to new infrastructures, or integrating infrastructures from new acquisitions, are interested in relying on UC solutions from the cloud. The organization’s size, technology strategy, and existing premises-based investments will determine the right mix between a hybrid UC deployment and a full cloud-based implementation.
So, regardless of whether choosing unified communications in the cloud or a hybrid solution, rest assured a UC solution will drive more collaborative interactions and help your businesses capitalize on opportunities quickly.