One of the biggest decisions our clients face when considering a new unified communications solution is choosing between Hosted and Premise Based products. Over the last five years we have seen the shift in interest towards hosted/cloud based IT solutions and in the natural course of things voice and unified communications have followed suit.
Twinstate Technologies has been in the traditional voice business for over 50 years.The transition has been an intriguing one for our clients and us. With that said, we are in the interesting position of offering both types of unified communications platforms to our customers and are able to provide unique perspectives on each.
In the early days of hosted/cloud communications there were legitimate areas of concern regarding reliability and functionality. Most customers were not comfortable with the thought of their voice communications relying on internet connectivity that was often undependable. In addition the architecture of some cloud solutions was not done with the level of reliability often attributed to traditional premise based phone systems. Cloud providers also struggled to deliver the same feature sets used customarily by businesses.
The world has changed. Internet pipes are more reliable. Diverse internet solutions are more cost effective and readily available. More robust feature sets are being delivered and adopted by end users. So the question becomes: What is the best solution for my business and how do I choose? Here are some Pros and Cons often considered when choosing a Unified Communications platform:
Pros for Cloud Communications:
Operational Cost versus Capital Expenditure.
One of the attractions to hosted solutions has always been the fact that it is a monthly cost and requires less financial planning to implement. Monthly carrier costs for dial tone are now rolled into this expenditure and help to offset the overall costs.
Keeping the Technology Fresh.
IT professionals especially can appreciate the challenges of staying current with technology. Cloud UC solutions allow for the ability to change solutions in order to stay current with features your business needs. Companies are not tied to a long-term investment in a platform that may not fit their needs in 3 years.
Organizations can find that the time spent to properly support a premised based system without the proper personnel can become cumbersome and costly. With web based tools for both system administrators and end users, most companies find maintaining the UC platform to be effortless. All support is generally included by the hosted provider including warranties for any hardware/phones.
Flexibility for the business.
With more and more organizations concerned with the “uptime” of their business, hosted solutions easily adapt to unpredictable situations.There are easy ways to alter call routs to back up locations. End users have the flexibility of working from remote locations. Calls can be automatically rerouted in the case of a network or other type of outage.
Cons for Cloud Communications:
Total Cost of ownership.
While a monthly operational cost is attractive, generally over time hosted solutions prove to be more costly. Of course this varies by degree based on the size of the business and the level of support needed to run a premised based solution but by and large the cloud is more expensive over time.
Features and functionality.
Clients need to be much more careful about what their business needs to operate efficiently. All hosted solutions are not created equal. And while some are incredibly capable, other may lack in functionality. Remember, hosted solutions are designed to fit the broadest range of end users possible and some advanced applications.
Traditional premised based phone systems for the most part were and are designed to be 99.999% reliable. Once you factor in the reliability of the internet, reliability of the provider, and data network that carries all the voice traffic it becomes difficult to achieve that same level of reliability. It is important to look behind the curtain of the provider to see how their solution is designed.
Hopefully this provides some food for thought for clients considering a new unified communications solution. Please feel free to reach out to us here at Twinstate Technologies if you need any further assistance. We are here to help.