Cloud-based UC steadily becoming the norm

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As technology marches on, what was once new and uncertain slowly becomes the new norm. That, it would seem, is the case with cloud-based unified communications (UC), which is increasingly being adopted for new UC deployments.

According to IDC*, by 2017 60 percent of enterprise UC-as-a service deployments will be cloud based. Enterprises are continuing to expand their UC solutions to the cloud, enabling workers to have more flexibility and broader functionality while implementing and deploying new capabilities and technologies with less effort.

What’s driving this shift to the cloud?

Several reasons are motivating companies and IT decision-makers to adopt cloud-based UC.

For starters, cost. It is always a factor to be considered. Flexible pricing models, based on per-month or per-user fees, can help keep the cost of ownership at a predictable and affordable level. The high cost of capital equipment is reduced, as only endpoints are required to be purchased. (Some vendors even include endpoints in their monthly fees.) Scalable, flexible solutions also help companies pay only for the licenses that they need at a given time while allowing for expansion as their needs grow.

As more organizations support huddle room and ad-hoc videoconferencing, bandwidth and MCU demands can increase significantly. Cloud solutions can scale with relative ease to meet these incremental requirements.

A key feature of cloud-based UC is the ability to extend communication and collaboration beyond your company’s physical location. Cloud-based UC solutions are typically accessible from any supported smart phone or tablet, at virtually any location, enabling users to work and communicate across various devices and networks, which is attractive to companies with large workforces across multiple locations. From locations around the world, you’ll benefit from the same solutions and services, without needing to worry about incompatible software. This benefit is further enhanced given the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend.

Cloud-based services are typically quicker and easier to deploy than on-premises solutions, which makes them preferable for companies trying to remain competitive in an environment where speed is essential.

In addition to providing all maintenance, large cloud service providers maintain multiple layers of redundancy and have well-defined disaster recovery plans.

Similarly, companies avoid the cost of technology refreshes, as they automatically get the latest versions of software, saving time and money and eliminating the risk of falling behind on the latest technology.

All these benefits enable IT departments to spend less time worrying about their UC deployments and more time focusing on more pressing or strategic matters.

Are you ready to move to the cloud?

A variety of factors influence an organization’s decision on whether to move to the cloud. Each organization, after all, has different needs and concerns, but there are some recurring factors, including:

  • IT resources and constraints
  • Cost and budget concerns
  • Existing UC investments and infrastructure
  • Industry and government regulations
  • The structure of the organization and location of its sites
  • Specific communication and solution needs
  • Scalability requirements
  • Availability of the solutions and offerings

While individual needs may vary, these concerns are typical for all organizations to some degree. However, the benefits and accessibility of cloud-based UC address these concerns well enough that it can often be the best choice.

Cloud-based UC can better support specific business needs, offer flexible delivery models to deploy newer capabilities, and help reduce overall technology costs.

While not everyone will embrace the cloud for their UC needs, cloud adoption is clearly growing, and there’s no end in sight. As today’s workforce becomes more mobile and distributed, cloud-based UC services can enable workers to more effectively communicate and collaborate. The cloud continues to be the top choice and the new normal.

* IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Telecommunications 2016 Predictions, November 2015

Sandra Weinstein Lead Marketing Manager AT&T About Sandra